By Femi Atolagbe
Nigeria international Junior Ajayi has set his sights on winning the 2019-20 Caf Champions League with Al Ahly on Friday.
After several postponements, the Red Devils will finally battle cross-city rivals Zamalek for the tournament’s diadem at the Cairo International Stadium.
Ajayi had played a part in the 2017 final, albeit they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca. The following year, injury ruled him out from taking part as the Egyptians were beaten to the title by Tunisia’s Esperance.
The 24-year-old forward laments his side’s Champions League failed ambitions twice but is now hoping to be lucky at a third attempt as his team is buoyed by their Egyptian Premier League triumph.
“It was a bad time for us because coming up just short in consecutive editions isn’t good,” Ajayi said.
“We’d played very well throughout both of those campaigns but didn’t perform in either final, which cost us the title.
“We’re very happy we won the league, which gives us confidence ahead of the coming games. We’re only focused on the continental title and will do our best to claim it.”
“I expect a good game from both sides,” he continued. “The two teams know each other very well, and Zamalek are among the toughest teams I’ve faced. I’ve lost two finals against them and it wasn’t a good feeling.”
For Al Ahly supporters, they will be banking on Ajayi to reproduce his heroics against the White Castle from last year, when he was at the double against them in the Egyptian Super Cup.
“I love to play in big games because it highlights your capabilities as a player,” the ex-Shooting Stars Sports Club star added.
“I’ve been lucky in scoring against big teams and I feel very happy when I do this.
“I want to score more goals and hope to win the Champions League, because it’s the only title I still haven’t managed. I hope we can do it because our fans love this tournament so much.”
To reach this stage, Al Ahly silenced two-time African kings Wydad Casablanca in the last four, while Raja Casablanca were blown away 4-1 over two legs by Jaime