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I am not favouring Zamalek over Ahly: Egypt coach

Hector Cuper hails Monday's friendly win over Malawi, says injuries were behind the absence of Ahly players at the Pharaohs' recent camp

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Tuesday 9 Jun 2015
Hector Cuper
Hector Cuper of Argentina, right, head coach of Egypt's national soccer team speaks during a press conference at the soccer federation headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, March 10, 2015 (Photo: AP)
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Egypt's Argentinean coach Hector Cuper has denied favouring Zamalek players over Ahly ones, insisting that Monday's friendly against Malawi was beneficial for the Pharaohs.

Egypt defeated the central African team 2-1 in a friendly match in Alexandria amid their preparation for the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

"Malawi game was helpful for us as we search now for alternatives for both Ahly and Zamalek players," Cuper said in the press conference after the match.

"It wasn't good to concede a goal because of a silly defensive mistake, but generally we got what we wanted from the game," the coach added.

Missing both Ahly and Zamalek players who had continental commitments with their clubs on Sunday, Cuper relied on a second string team against Malawi.

The coach has called eight Zamalek players and just two from Ahly only to join the training camp directly after their African matches, but they didn't feature in the game.

It was a sudden decision especially for Ahly fans who saw their players always as a majority in the national team during the past years.

"I am not favoring Zamalek over Ahly. The problem is that most of Ahly's international players were injured and so they weren't available in this camp," Cuper explained.

"Also, the absence of Hossam Ghaly was for technical reasons, not for his recent dispute with his club," he added.

Veteran midfielder Ghaly has been dumped as skipper of Cairo giants Ahly after he lost his temper and kicked the captain's armband to the ground after being sent off in an Egyptian Premier League game on 24 May.

Egypt team will officially kick off their bid to reach the 2017 Gabon finals on 14 June against Tanzania.

The Pharaohs, who have won seven AFCON trophies, have been drawn in Group G of the 2017 qualifiers along with Nigeria, Tanzania and Chad.

The Egyptian side has been out of action since November, when they failed to qualify for the 2015 African Cup of Nations, under former coach Shawky Gharib.

They have only played a friendly match in March, weeks after Cuper’s appointment, defeating Equatorial Guinea 2-0.

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