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Saturday, 19 October 2019

Preview: Egypt kick off preparations for African Cup with Nigeria test

Egypt and Nigeria will test new faces when they meet in a friendly match on Tuesday amid preparations for the African Nations Cup

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Monday 25 Mar 2019
Egypt held to a 1-1 draw against Niger on Saturday (Photo: EFA's official facebook page)
Views: 4431
Views: 4431

Egypt coach Mexican tactician Javier Aguirre will continue examining new faces when his team faces Nigeria in a friendly match on Tuesday.

The Pharaohs will be hosted by the Super Eagles in their first warm-up for this summer's African Nations Cup, which they are seeking to win for the first time since winning the last of their record seven trophies in 2010.

Egypt was granted the tournament's hosting rights in January after Cameroon was stripped of those rights in December. Nigeria will also be featuring in the prestigious tournament finals.

The Egyptian team is supposed to play three other friendly matches in the final preparations before the competition, which is scheduled to take place from 21 June to 13 July.

Egypt's perfect run under Aguirre came to an end after Saturday's 1-1 away draw against Niger in the last round of the Nations Cup qualifiers.

"Sure I wanted to win the match despite the fact that the result wasn't influential," Aguirre said in the press conference after the match.

"My main target was to examine new faces by giving them a chance against Niger; a game that we played in difficult weather conditions," Aguirre added.

Against Niger, Aguirre gave debuts to Pyramids duo Ahmed Mansour and Nabil Emad and Ittihad's on-loan youngster Ammar Hamdi, as well as introducing other fresh faces such as Ahly right-back Mohamed Hani and midfielder Amr El-Sulaya.

Egypt, who have already booked a place in Africa's flagship tournament with one match to spare, finished second in Group J with 13 points, three behind leaders Tunisia.

"Managing Egypt is a very special mission as Egypt has a big history in African football," the 60-year-old Aguirre told a press conference ahead of the Nigeria match.

"I can feel a great concern with the competition in Egypt. I am preparing a team that would truly compete for the title.

"The Nigeria match is strong experience. I asked for this game as Nigeria is among the strongest teams in Africa. Resting big names like Mohamed Salah was to give the chance for new faces," he added.

On the other side, examining new faces would be also a priority for Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr against the seven-time African champions Egypt.

"We will have new players against Egypt. A new striker and a new defender," Rohr said in the match's press conference.

"We want to deploy other players in the match, but the most important thing is to play wonderful football," he added.

With Aguirre at the helm, Egypt have won all the qualifier matches; crushing Niger 6-0, defeating eSwatini 4-1 at home and 2-0 away, and beating Tunisia 3-2, before Saturday's draw in N'Djamena.

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

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