Egypt's Cuper says sorry to fans after Nations Cup defeat

Ahram Online , Sunday 5 Feb 2017,
Egypt's Argentinian coach Hector Raul Cuper reacts during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final football match between Egypt and Cameroon at the Stade de l'Amitie Sino-Gabonaise in Libreville on February 5, 2017 AFP

Egypt coach Hector Cuper apologised to the country's fans following a 2-1 defeat by Cameroon in the African Cup of Nations final on Sunday.

The Pharaohs surrendered a first-half lead to allow Cameroon to lift their fifth title with two goals from substitutes Nicolas Nkoulou and Vincent Aboubakar.

"I'm not sad because we lost, I'm sad because Egyptians had dreams and desire to win the Nations Cup," Argentinean boss Cuper told the post-match news conference.

"I'm sorry for the players. I think we did a good job but I'm sorry we could not give Egyptians the happiness they craved."

Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny, restored to the starting line-up after recovering from injury, finished off a superb three-man move to fire home from a tight angle and give Egypt the lead midway through the first half.

Cameroon came on with all guns blazing in the second period, launching a barrage of attacks that resulted in a 58th-minute headed goal from substitute Nicolas Nkoulou, who replaced injured defender Adolphe Teikeu in the first half, and another strike from Aboubakar following a brilliant individual effort.

Egypt looked jaded in the latter stages, struggling to contain Cameroon's pacy forwards who looked fresher when it mattered most. They were also dearly affected by a number of injuries which hit some key players, including left-back Mohamed Abdel-Shafi and two strikers in Marwan Mohsen and Ahmed Kouka.

Cuper failed to end a final jinx that saw him lose five domestic and continental finals with Spain's Mallorca and Valencia and Greek club Aris Thessaloniki.

"I will not say that I'm used to that (final defeats), but it's another loss. We were not good in the second half and we had fitness problems," added the former Inter Milan boss, who also lost the Italian Serie A title on the final day of the season in 2002.

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