Egypt coach Cuper has plans to deal with height of Mali players in AFCON opener

Ahram Online , Sunday 15 Jan 2017,
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Cuper
Egypt's Argentinian coach Hector Raul Cuper addresses players during a training session in Port-Gentil on January 14, 2017, during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament in Gabon (Photo: AFP)

Egypt coach Hector Cuper said his side are prepared to deal with the height of Mali's players when both sides meet in their opening game of the African Cup of Nations on Tuesday.

The Pharaohs will be eyeing a winning start against Mali before meeting Uganda and Ghana in their Group D campaign.

"We prepare our players to perfectly deal with the tall Mali players … We also have tall players who can stop them [in aerial challenges]," Argentinean coach Cuper told Egyptian television channel ON Sport on Sunday.

Cuper also played down worries over an injury that hit keeper Sherif Ekramy on Saturday but said the Ahly shot-stopper remain doubtful for the opening match against Mali.  

Ekramy was not expected to start against Mali anyway, with Zamalek's Ahmed El-Shennawi and Wadi Degla's veteran keeper Essam El-Hadary ahead of him in the pecking order.

"All the players are ready for the Mali game except Sherif Ekramy. I think that his injury isn't serious and his final situation will be determined on Monday," Cuper added.

The former Inter Milan and Valencia boss is seeking to lead Egypt to their first AFCON triumph since they won the last of their record seven titles in 2010 in Angola.

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Group A W D L P
Egypt
3 0 0 9
Uganda
1 1 1 4
DR Congo
1 0 2 3
Zimbabwe
0 1 2 1
Group B W D L P
Madagascar
2 1 0 7
Nigeria
2 0 1 6
Guinea
1 1 1 4
Burundi
0 0 3 0
Group C W D L P
Algeria
3 0 0 9
Senegal
2 0 1 6
Kenya
1 0 2 3
Tanzania
0 0 3 0
Group D W D L P
Morocco
3 0 0 9
Cote d'Ivoire
2 0 1 6
South Africa
1 0 2 3
Namibia
0 0 3 0
Group E W D L P
Mali
2 1 0 7
Tunisia
0 3 0 3
Angola
0 2 1 2
Mauritania
0 2 1 2
Group F W D L P
Ghana
1 2 0 5
Cameroon
1 2 0 5
Benin
0 3 0 3
Guinea Bissau
0 1 2 1