'You made people happy,' Sisi tells Egypt football team

Dozens of fans welcome the team home, including President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi

Ahram Online , Monday 6 Feb 2017,
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Egypt

The Egyptian national football team was received on Monday afternoon by president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi at Cairo airport’s VIP hall, one day after losing 2-1 to Cameroon in the 2017 African Cup of Nations final.

"I extend to you my utmost respect. You made people happy. You did well," El-Sisi told the team after posing with them for a photo at the airport.

"A full thanks to you all. You will accomplish a lot more for yourselves and for Egyptians in the future," El-Sisi added. 

The team's flight back to Cairo from Gabon was delayed for three hours.

Even though they lost their shot at winning their eighth African Cup of Nations trophy, the Pharaohs have gained the appreciation of fans and critics due to the fighting spirit and positive morale they displayed during the tournament.

Egypt, who failed to qualify for the last three editions of the tournament, have won 2017's fair play award.

Under the helm of Argentinean manager Hector Cuper, Egypt made it to the final after leading the group stage with a goalless draw with Mali and two 1-0 victories against Uganda and Ghana.

They defeated Morocco 1-0 in the quarterfinals in a tough game before passing Burkina Faso with penalty shootouts, thanks to record-breaking goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary.

El-Hadary is the oldest player to ever participate in the tournament and has kept his sheet clean for the longest ever run.

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