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Monday, 17 December 2018

Preview: Aguirre out to maintain blistering start with Egypt against eSwatini

Karim Farouk , Thursday 11 Oct 2018
Aguirre
Egypt coach Javier Aguirre reacts (Reuters)
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New Egypt coach Javier Aguirre can make it two wins out of two when the Pharaohs host eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) on Friday in Cairo in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The Mexican tactician, who has succeeded to Argentinean boss Hector Cuper, enjoyed a dream debut as the seven-time African Champions hammered Niger 6-0 last month on the second match day of the qualifiers.

“Our main objective is to win both encounters in order to secure the qualification as the group is still wide open,” Aguirre told a press conference on Thursday.

The 59-year-old former Mexico and Japan coach gave quite an entertaining show to the football-mad country with his offensive tactics, in contrast with the much maligned defensive strategy of his predecessor.

Though Aguirre confirmed after the game that it is not certain such a show will be reproduced each game, he asserted that the Pharaohs are capable of repeating such a feat against the 136th-placed country in the FIFA ranking.

Aguirre will make some changes to the team he fielded against Niger last month, as key defender Ahmed Hegazi serves an automatic one-match ban. Experienced centre-back Ali Gabr or MLS league based Amro Tarek are expected to replace him next to Baher El-Mohamadi, who made his debut against Niger.

He will also have limited choices in the striker position as Ahly’s Salah Mohsen and Arab Contractors’ Ahmed Ali have been ruled out with injuries.

Aguirre will have to rely on injury-prone Marwan Mohsen and Olympiacos striker Ahmed ‘Kouka’ Hassan.

The Pharaohs are second in Group J with three points, three behind leaders Tunisia. They need to win the double header against eSwatini on 12 and 16 October to secure their ticket to next year’s elite competition in 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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