Egypt midfielder Abdallah El-Said reveals reasons behind Cameroon loss

Many people didn't expect to see Egypt at the African Cup of Nations final, the Ahly midfielder said

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Tuesday 7 Feb 2017,
Football Soccer - African Cup of Nations - Final - Egypt v Cameroon - Stade d'Angondjé - Libreville, Gabon - 5/2/17 Egypt's Abdallah El Said looks dejected after the game (Reuters)

Egypt's national team was not at full strength in Sunday's African Cup of Nations final against Cameroon due to tough circumstances in the lead up to the match, Ahly midfielder Abdallah El-Said said on Monday.

"We had met hard circumstances since the tournament's start, which is why we were short of top strength in the final," El-Said said in an interview with CBC TV channel.

The Indomitable Lions came from behind with two second-half goals from substitute Nicolas Nkoulou and Vincent Aboubakar to beat the Pharaohs 2-1 and win their fifth Nations Cup title -- the first since 2002.

"We were negatively affected by playing four matches at the very bad pitch of Stade de Port Gentil and by playing under stress, especially the Egypt-based players who were suffering from playing too many successive matches in the domestic league," El-Said said. 

"We lost many players due to different injuries and the competition itself was a tough one. All these factors made us lose our power in the final -- the match that should be played with full capacity," added the Ahly midfielder, who appeared in six matches in Gabon and scored Egypt's opening goal in the match with Uganda.

The record holders of seven trophies, Egypt made it to the Nations Cup finals after taking the lead of the group stage with a goalless draw against  Mali and two 1-0 victories over Uganda and Ghana.

The Pharaohs 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.

"We did our best against Cameroon since the start [of the game] but then we were affected by fatigue, loss of concentration and fear of receiving a goal after scoring in the first half," said the 31-year old.

"Many people didn't expect to see Egypt in the final. Every player was hoping for this big achievement. We passed one step and were one step away from the title, but in the end, this is football," he concluded.

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

Cameroon are now two titles short of Egypt's record of seven AFCON titles. The Lions will play at the FIFA Confederations Cup, which takes place in Russia from 17 June to 2 July. 

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


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