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No more heavy defeats, Egypt coach Cuper says ahead of Nigeria clash

Cuper holds a press conference ahead of the Pharaohs' crucial game against Nigeria

Mahmoud Elassal , Sunday 20 Mar 2016
Hector Cuper
Hector Cuper of Argentina, the head coach of Egypt's national football team, speaks during a press conference at the football federation headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, March 10, 2015 (AP)
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Egypt coach Hector Cuper insisted there would not be a repeat of any humiliating defeats such as the one the team suffered in 2013 against Ghana as the Pharaohs prepare for a crunch double-header against Nigeria in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The seven-time African champions missed out on a place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil following a stunning 7-3 aggregate defeat by Ghana that included an embarrassing 6-1 first-leg loss in Kumasi under American coach Bob Bradley.

Cuper is confident such outcomes will never occur again as Egypt face Nigeria in Kaduna on Friday before hosting them four days later at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium.

"We can beat Nigeria and it's impossible to repeat what happened against Ghana when the team lost 6-1," Cuper told a news conference on Sunday.

"I usually don't promise any certain outcomes but I'm confident that we are capable of overcoming Nigeria."

Egypt are leading Group G with six points from two victories over Chad and Tanzania, two ahead of second-placed Nigeria.

With only the group winners guaranteed automatic qualification for next year's Nations Cup finals in Gabon, Egypt can move to within touching distance of ending a six-year absence from the biennial tournament by avoiding defeat against Nigeria.

"All people know the importance of Nigeria game and this is a double-edged weapon. If we win, that will be deemed a success and if we lose, we will be subjected to harsh comments and our work during the past period will be ruined," Argentinean coach Cuper added.

"I have the utmost confidence in the abilities of my players."

Cuper also commented on statements from Nigeria coach Samson Siasia that he was confident the Super Eagles would emerge winners.

"They are surely free to say that and we respect them, but such statements can never affect the morale of my players. Otherwise, we will not deserve to represent Egypt," he said.

The former Valencia and Inter Milan boss also said he was pleased Ahly and Zamalek managed to qualify for the CAF Champions League round of 16 with easy wins, given that Egypt's squad is mainly made up of players from the Cairo duo.

He also said he does not mind being sacked if Egypt fail to overcome Nigeria.

"I have no problems with Egypt Football Association if they decided to terminate my contract."

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