Zimbabwe boss says not worried at facing Egypt in 2019 AFCON opener

Zimbabwe will be missing first choice keeper George Chigova due to suspension, while the team star Khama Billiat is still doubtful for the match due to a knee injury

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Wednesday 19 Jun 2019,
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Afcon: Zimbabwe coach Sunday Chidzambwa sees positives after Nigeria friendly (Reuters)
Afcon: Zimbabwe coach Sunday Chidzambwa sees positives after Nigeria friendly (Reuters)

Facing the hosting country Egypt in Friday's African Cup of Nations opener is not worrying to Zimbabwe coach Sunday Chidzambwa who insisted that he has veteran players who can handle the game.

The Pharaohs will be hosting their Zimbabwean counterparts at Cairo International Stadium in the prestigious tournament opening match.

"We are in a difficult group in the finals and also that was the same in the qualifiers, but we managed to qualify. As we qualified, so why don't we make a new surprise," Chidzambwa said in a pre-match press conference Wednesday.

"We have veteran players who can deal with this atmosphere," the coach added when asked about playing the first match against the hosts.

Zimbabwe will play in Group A alongside hosts Egypt, Uganda and DR Congo.

The Nations Cup, which has been expanded to 24 teams, will be played in Egypt between 21 June and 19 July.

Against Egypt, Zimbabwe will be missing first choice keeper George Chigova due to suspension, while the team star Khama Billiat is still doubtful for the match due to a knee injury.

"I have three goalkeepers at the same level. The absence of any of them doesn't worry me at all," said the Zimbabwe coach.

"Billiat's final situation will be determined Thursday, but I think that he will be available for the opener," he concluded.

This summer's edition will mark Zimbabwe's fourth appearance in the biennial tournament.

With Javier Aguirre at the helm, Egypt team are optimistic about winning the precious title of AFCON champions for the first time since 2010, the last of their record seven victories.

Egypt reached the final of the 2017 edition, only to lose 2-1 to Cameroon.

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

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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