Egypt face tough test of athleticism against Burkina Faso: Elmohamady

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Wednesday 1 Feb 2017,
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Egypt
Egypt's midfielder Ahmed Elmohamady controls the ball (AFP)

Egypt winger Ahmed Elmohamady has said the Pharaohs will face a tough test of athleticism when they meet Burkina Faso in the African Cup of Nations semifinal on Wednesday.

"We watched them a few times on video. It's a tough team, we're going to face some physical players," Elmohamady said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

Holding the record with seven Nations Cup titles, Egypt ended a 31-year wait for a victory over North African rivals Morocco on Monday to reach the prestigious tournament's semis.

The Pharaohs will take on the Stallions in Libreville after the latter beat Tunisia 2-0 on Saturday.

Egypt kept their sheet clean in their first four games, drawing with Mali in the opener before successive 1-0 wins against Uganda, Ghana and Morocco.

"I think everything has changed now. Loads of teams have come close to each other. There's no big difference like before," Elmohamady, who appeared in the matches with Ghana and Morocco, said about this year’s competition.

"Before it was Egypt, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria, and then a big gap. But now, everyone can play,” the 29-year-old player added.

"We had Uganda in our group. If you played against Uganda seven years ago, you would find it easy, but now it's very, very difficult. Loads of teams in Africa are coming up very strong, players who play outside their country, so they have the experience of playing good football," the Hull City player added.

Elmohamady, a three-time Africa Cup of Nations winner in 2006, 2008 and 2010, believes that winning the title this time in Gabon would greatly lift his own spirits and those of his countrymen.

"Of course with what's happened in the last few years in Egypt, the football and all these things, the fans want to celebrate again. This is the only thing now they can celebrate," he said.

"It's going to be very good if you go back to your club winning a trophy. It's an amazing achievement," he concluded.

Egypt won the last of their record seven titles in Angola in 2010 under former coach Hassan Shehata.

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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