Egypt opened their Nile Basin campaign in convincing fashion after thrashing Tanzania 5-1 in Cairo on Wednesday.
A brace from Petrojet striker Al-Sayed Hamdi, an own goal from Tanzania’s Nadir Haroub and two fine strikes from Mohamed Abou-Treika and substitute Ahmed Ali handed Egypt an easy victory at Arab Contractors Stadium.
Tanzania’s Rashid Gumbo notched a consolation with eight minutes remaining in virtually the first real attempt on goal from the visitors.
Egypt have three points in Group A, on level with Uganda who defeated Burundi 3-1 earlier in the day.
Zamalek’s under-fire forward Mahmoud Abdel-Razek 'Shikabala' was included in Egypt’s starting line-up after backtracking on a shock decision to retire from international football.
He showed glimpses of his undoubted talent and was unlucky not to find the net when his powerful left-footed volley struck the woodwork few minutes before the break.
Ismaily midfielder Hosni Abd-Rabou made his long-awaited Egypt comeback after recovering from a serious knee complaint, replacing Amr Al-Sulaya in the first half after his club teammate picked up an injury.
Hamdi needed four minutes to put Egypt in front when he nipped between two defenders to head home an inch-perfect cross from left-back Ahmed Samir Farag.
Abou-Treika, who looked lively until being substituted early in the second half, doubled Egypt’s advantage seven minutes later when he gathered a poor defensive clearance on the edge of the area before sending a superb shot that went in off the post.
Haroub’s own goal on 23 minutes effectively ended the match as a contest as he inadvertently converted a low cross from Farag into his own net.
Tanzania players huffed and puffed to cope with Egypt’s free-flowing football, which was in stark contrast to the poor displays the Pharaohs produced in two disappointing 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers against Sierra Leone and Niger.
Hamdi added the fourth with a close-range header in the 57th minute and substitute Ali of Ismaily completed the rout on 78 minutes when he made the most of a mis-timed jump by the keeper to head into an empty net.
Tanzania still had something to cheer about though as Gumbo scored eight minutes from time after a rare defensive lapse allowed him to sneak in at the far post.