"We are proud to have Al Ahly as our representatives at the FIFA Club World Championship in Japan," those were the words of CAF General Secretary Mustafa Fahmy who, along with hundreds of reporters, attended a FIFA-organised media day in Cairo on 29 November.

Undefeated for (currently) 55 matches in all competitions and winning the CAF Champions League, the African Club of the Century are one of a kind in African football.

Speaking before journalists, Mustafa Fahmy urged his continent's ambassadors to prove to the world that the quality of African clubs is equal to that shown by African national teams in recent times.

"People around the world are anxious to see what kind of football African clubs can play and Japan will be the stage where you are going to be judged.

"Led by Joseph S. Blatter, FIFA have made great efforts to resuscitate this tournament and it is your duty now to verify that their efforts did not go in vain."

The message was loud and clear as Al Ahly's players focused on their eagerly awaited Arab derby against Asian champions Al Ittihad Jeddah of Saudi Arabia on 11 December in Tokyo.

"We promise to do our best and represent Egypt and Africa in an honourable way," their coach Manuel Jose said. "I'm not saying we do not want to win the competition but what I'm saying is that we prefer to take it one step at a time." 

Under his command, Al Ahly have been able to mix victories with entertaining football, a magical formula known to few teams across the planet.

"We will not lose sight of our target whether we are playing against Ittihad Jeddah, Sao Paulo or even Liverpool. We will always play to win," the Portuguese confirmed.

Jose's calm demeanour was replicated by his players who broke out into wide smiles as the trophy was introduced to the gathered press.

Mohamed Barakat, Emad Moteab and Mohamed Abutreka, collectively known as the Bermuda triangle, have written chapters in Ahly's success story.

"Our match with Ittihad Jeddah will be quite difficult," said top marksman Moteab. "Like any other derby I predict it will be a tense encounter and I believe whoever keeps their nerves will come out winners."

His partner Mohamed Abu Treka directed his comments to opponents Al Ittihad Jeddah whose players had highlighted their superiority in recent encounters between the two sides.

"Personally, I've never experienced losing to a foreign team in Ahly colours and I believe the same goes for the rest of my colleagues who have mostly only joined over the past couple of years."

"Previous results between Ahly and Ittihad have never crossed our minds but we know that they are a good team and we respect them. I guess on December 11th we'll know who the better side is."

At home, Al Ahly have established themselves to be as prominent as the pyramids. In the late 60s they beat Portuguese giants Benfica who were led at the time by the legendary Eusebio. Four years ago, they defeated another European mammoth Real Madrid, a side boasting superstars Raul, Figo and Zidane.

But their impressive international record runs beyond the Nile. Their only trip to Japan was in 1989 when they were crowned champions of the Afro-Asian cup (a competition that used to be organised by CAF and AFC) after beating Japanese champions Yumuri.

This time Al Ahly travel to Japan determined to prove their worth in an event that will be witnessed by the whole world. Win or lose, records looks certain to be broken.