'Joker' Ahmed Fathi hails Egypt team ahead of Burkina Faso game

Ahram Online , Tuesday 31 Jan 2017,
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Ahemd Fathi
Morocco's defender Manuel Da Costa (L) challenges Egypt's defender Ahmed Fathi during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final football match between Egypt and Morocco in Port-Gentil on January 29, 2017. (AFP)

Veteran Egypt right-winger Ahmed Fathi has praised the current national squad, describing them as "one of the best generations" ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal against Burkina Faso on Wednesday.

"I am pledged to play with this team. The current squad is one of the best generations ever because most of players serve in European clubs and they have enough enthusiasm and determination to accomplish success for their country," the Ahly star told an Egyptian television programme on Tuesday.

Fathi, who was occasionally nicknamed "the joker" or "the wildcard" because he played in many positions, is bidding for his fourth trophy, having been part of the winnning squad in the 2006, 2008 and 2010 cups.

"There is no easy football game. We must respect any opponent we face," Fathi said about the anticipated Libreville stadium clash.

Argentinean manager Hector Cuper has depended on the 32-year-old in many positions as he is capable of playing in both the left and right wings in addition to central defence and midfield.

"I would play as a striker if I was asked to, but I will be very bad," quipped the former Ismaily, Sheffield United, Kazma, Hull City and Umm Salal player.

Thanks to Fathi and his teammates, the record-holders -- with seven trophies -- kept their sheet clean over four games, drawing with Mali in the opener before successive 1-0 wins against Uganda, Ghana and Morocco.

One day after Egypt take on Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Ghana will battle in the same round at the southeastern city of Franceville.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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