Al Ahly are in Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup and while they hold allusions of winning the tournament this time around, their anxiety is beginning to show.
Yesterday, Ahly coach Manuel Jose accused their first-round opponents, Mexico's Pachuca, of sending spies to their training camp.
"Three spies from Pachuca came to inspect our practice today," he said.
"It's not fair. We didn't watch their practice. It's not fair."
Jose stressed the importance of his team achieving a good result in their opening game.
"[Saturday's] game is the same as the final for Al Ahly and Pachuca," he said.
"The losers will go to a playoff for fifth and sixth places. It's a very important game."Jose also stressed how difficult it is for teams outside of Europe and South America to advance in the tournament.
Days ago, he claimed his side were only aiming for third place in the competition.
"For the European and South American clubs, they just go to a third-place play-off even if they lose. They can reach the final by winning only one game. Anyway, we just go into the match thinking it's the final," he said.
Talking about their Mexican opponents, the Portuguese-based coach said, "Pachuca change their tactics quite often and they also want to have a better result than they did last year, but I think we are more comfortable, because we know each other very well and we have the same 3-5-2 formation."
Pachuca have not yet responded to Jose's spying accusations, focusing instead on gaining "revenge" after losing to Etoile last year.
"We believe in revenge," Pachuca's Argentine striker Bruno Marioni said.
"We are thinking about playing in a final against Manchester United. For now, we will fight this match in front of us as if it was a final." Honestly, we feel we lost for no reasons last year," Pachuca coach Enrique Meza added.
"We aim to take the first match this year, as a matter of course, and go still higher - up to the top spot."
The winners face South American champions Liga de Quito (LDU) of Ecuador in the semi-finals on Wednesday, with the victors in that match progressing to likely meet Manchester United in the final.
MY POV: Breathe in, breath out Mr. Jose! No need to get too crazy about this match!
It's evident that Jose and Ahly are taking this tournament very seriously. While that's understandable, the team needs to focus on the game and not on conspiracy theories.
Ahly is more than capable of making it to the final - provided they lay off the caffeine and RELAX!