Egypt's versatile defender Fathi eyes Nations Cup winning start against Mali

Ahram Online , Sunday 8 Jan 2017,
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Ahmed Fathi

Egypt's versatile defender Ahmed Fathi underlined the importance of opening the African Cup of Nations campaign with a win over Mali. 

The Pharaohs play Mali in their opening Group D game on 17 January before facing Uganda and Ghana as they make their first tournament appearance since winning the last of their record seven titles in 2010. 

"A win against Mali will be very important for the team," Fathi told a TV programme on Sunday after Egypt claimed a last-gasp 1-0 win over Tunisia in a friendly at Cairo's International Stadium. 

"It will boost the players' morale and help us in the rest of the tournament."

The Ahly man said he is ready to play as a defender or a midfielder, adding that he will follow any instructions from coach Hector Cuper.

The 32-year-old can either operate as a right-back or a defensive midfielder.

"If he decided to keep me on bench I will accept his orders," Fathi added.  

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