Preview: Egypt likely to field regular players in last AFCON warm-up against Guinea

Ahram Online , Saturday 15 Jun 2019,
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Egypt
Egypt beat Tanzania 1-0 in their previous friendly game (Reuters)

Egypt are likely to field an almost full-strength side when they meet Guinea on Sunday as they gear up for their opening African Cup of Nations game against Zimbabwe five days later in Cairo.

The Pharaohs were unconvincing in their previous warm-up despite recording a 1-0 victory over Tanzania at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium, having struggled to make their dominance count against feeble opponents.

Coach Javier Aguirre gave chances to some new faces against Tanzania, including Zamalek's central defender Mahmoud Alaa and Pyramids FC midfielder Nabil Emad.

But the regular players are expected to take part against Guinea, including Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah who were rested for the previous match.

"We won't face Guinea with the same formation that was used against Tanzania," Egypt's assistant coach Hany Ramzy told Time Sport TV channel late on Friday.

"We want to examine the 23 players so all of them will play and those who didn't appear against Tanzania will be available against Guinea.

"We also could play with a new strategy like 4-4-2 or 3-4-3 to make the most of the friendly matches ahead of the tournament."

In the absence of Salah, Aguirre relied on numerous crosses sent from both flanks.

The solitary goal Egypt scored came from a similar move when substitute Ahmed Mansour, who replaced left-back Ayman Ashraf in the second half, whipped in a cross to the far post that was headed home by right-back Ahmed Elmohamady.

Should Salah play against Guinea, the strategy could be altered so as to make the most of the forward's pacy runs behind the defence. Under Aguirre's predecessor Hector Cuper, Salah combined with veteran playmaker Abdallah El-Said to devastating effect.

"Salah is a great player and he is currently in the top rank alongside Messi and Ronaldo, but we also have other players who can be like him one day," Egypt's assistant coach Tito Garcia said.

"Five years ago Salah was not who he is today. Egypt have highly-skilled and young players and if they remained at the same level we could have other players like Salah."

The record seven-time African champions face Zimbabwe at Cairo Stadium on Friday before meeting DR Congo and Uganda in Group A of the Nations Cup.

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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