Egypt benefited from Tunisia test, door still open to retried Soliman, says assistant coach

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Saturday 17 Nov 2018,

Egypt got many benefits from the recent victory over Tunisia, while the national team's door is still open for Ahly's in-form playmaker Walid Soliman despite his recent international retirement, according to assistant coach Hany Ramzy.

Egypt secured a 3-2 late victory over Tunisia in an African Cup of Nations qualifier in Alexandria on Friday.

"Friday's match gave us many benefits, the most important being the deployment of our young trio Salah Mohsen, Mohamed Mahmoud and Taher Mohamed," Ramzy told ON Sport TV Channel after the match.

"Now the national team has a distinguished blend of young and experienced players," the former Ahly star added.

Under the guidance of Mexican coach Javier Aguirre, Egypt crushed Niger 6-0 and defeated eSwatini 4-1 and 2-0 at home and away, respectively, to seal passage to next year's Nations Cup finals in Cameroon with two games to spare in Group J.

We urged our players to achieve a positive result against Tunisia, especially since we haven’t beat them in an official game for 16 years. Also, the loss in the first leg in the current qualifiers was another strong reason," Ramzy explained.

"Aguirre was very angry, as Tunisia players pretended to be injured to waste time on different occasions,” he continued.

"Fans were waiting for this match to judge the performance of the national team under Aguirre. We managed to deliver a good performance during most time of the match, despite a strong Tunisian effort. The confrontation amounts to the high level of both teams,” said the assistant coach.

"Egypt team is always a candidate to win the African Cup title. It is our destiny and our responsibility. We reached the semis in the last edition and we should keep this level in the next one in Cameroon," he added.

Egypt and Tunisia are now both at 12 points in a group that also includes Niger and eSwatini, who lost all hopes to qualify to the Cameroon finals.

However, Egypt still sit second in Group J behind Tunisia who are favorites to finish on top, given their better head-to-head record virtue of the away goals they scored against the Pharaohs. Tunisia defeated Egypt 1-0 in their opening qualifier in June 2017.

Door open for Soliman

After being snubbed by Egypt for Friday's match against Tunisia, Ahly's in-form winger Walid Soliman announced Wednesday his retirement from international football, but Ramzy thinks it is a premature decision.

Aguirre left observers baffled after opting against including Soliman in the team's squad for Friday's clash despite his exploits with African Champions League runners-up Ahly.

The 33-year old played an instrumental role in leading Ahly to a place in the final, scoring six goals in 13 appearances, just one short of the competition's top scorers, and providing four assists.

"The technical staff has its own vision for every stage, so we didn't call Soliman," Ramzy said after Tunisia victory.

"If the African Cup of Nations to be played next week, we will call the player immediately. it will be unreasonable to omit a player who plays on top form just for being 33 years old.

"If he continued to deliver this outstanding performance sure we will call him up for the tournament (that kicks off 15 June)," the assistant coach concluded.

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

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