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Saturday, 25 March 2017

Egypt an 'organised' team, will win AFCON title in 2019: Ahmed Fathi

Ahram Online , Tuesday 7 Feb 2017
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Cameroon's Robert Ndip Tambe in action with Egypt's Ahmed Fathi (Reuters)
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Egypt veteran defender Ahmed Fathi has defended the team's playing style after Sunday's loss to Cameroon in the African Cup of Nations final, insisting that the Pharaohs will win the title in 2019.

The Ahly player stood up for Argentinian coach Hector Cuper, who has faced criticism on multiple occasions for deploying a defensive strategy.

"Egypt isn't playing randomly as some people say. We made a good appearance with Cuper because of his playing strategy," Fathi said in an interview with CBC TV channel late Monday.

"We were in Gabon to win the African Cup title. We had a big target in our minds because if we had only aimed to pass the first round, we wouldn't have achieved what we did," he added.

"I played before in four African Cups, winning three titles, and I know the victory feeling well. It is indescribable."

"I spoke with my teammate Mohamed Salah and told him that Egypt's current squad will win the title after two years (in 2019)," the 32-year old player said.

The Indomitable Lions came from behind Sunday with two second-half goals from substitute Nicolas Nkoulou and Vincent Aboubakar to beat the Pharaohs 2-1 and win their fifth Nations Cup title -- the first since 2002.

"I haven't played a final like this one, with such difficult circumstances against Cameroon. We were missing many players out with injuries, as well as Kharaba who was suspended. It was a very difficult situation," explained Fathi.

The record holders of seven trophies, Egypt made it to the finals in Gabon after taking the lead of the group stage with a goalless draw against Mali and two 1-0 victories over Uganda and Ghana.

The Pharaohs defeated Morocco 1-0 in the quarterfinals in a tough game before passing Burkina Faso with penalty shootouts, thanks to record-breaking goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary.

Egypt, who failed to qualify for the last three editions of the Nations Cup, won 2017's fair play award.

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

 
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