Egyptian football club Al Ahly must shrug off dismal domestic form if they are to win a record-extending sixth Confederation of African Football Super Cup title today.
The Red Devils host Tunisians CS Sfaxien at the 75,000-seat Cairo Stadium in the annual one-off match-up between the Champions League and Confederation Cup holders.
Ordinarily, Ahly would be firm favourites to embellish a Super Cup record of five victories and one defeat, while two previous appearances by Sfaxien ended in losses.
But these are not normal times for the eight-time African champions with a national league loss at El-Gouna last weekend the third defeat in nine outings.
Many Egyptians must be rubbing their eyes in disbelief as they study the Group A championship table and see Ahly only third behind unfashionable Smouha and Arab Contractors.
El-Gouna is just two points off the bottom while the other defeats came against Contractors and El-Daklyeh, another lower-half side.
However, embattled coach Mohamed Youssef (pictured) believes the importance of the Super Cup can rejuvenate a team struggling to overcome injuries and retirements.
Youssef, who replaced Libya-bound compatriot Hossam El-Badry last year, brushed aside media calls for his resignation.
Another boost came from the Egyptian authorities, who have waived a security-linked spectator ban imposed on most football fixtures and the organisers are hoping for a 30,000 crowd.
The Tunisians surrendered a 2-0 first-leg advantage before half-time in Lubumbashi only for Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to grab a crucial away goal with the final seemingly destined for penalties.