Egypt's U23 coach Shawky Gharib stressed that all Africa U23 Cup of Nations teams are very tough at the pre-game press conference held on Thursday.
"All the tournament teams are good and tough and each team aspires to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. Our main target is to qualify for the 2020 Olympics" said Gharib.
Egypt play in Group A alongside Ghana, Cameroon, and Mali. Group B includes South Africa, Zambia, Cote d'Ivoire, and Nigeria, the current champions.
"The toughest rounds of major tournaments always begin at the eighth round. The strongest eight teams in Africa are participating in the current tournament," he explained.
The young Pharaohs are scheduled to face Mali on Friday in the opening game of the U23 AFCON, the tournament which qualifies its first three teams for the 2020 Olympics.
Gharib depends basically on the domestic players in his squad list for the African tournament.
"We started our preparations a long time ago, and the state provided all our needs as we played many matches against different football schools," the former national team assistant coach revealed.
"We tried a large number of players. We depend on our local players," he added.
Egypt's skipper Ramadan Sobhi promised fans to qualify for the Olympics.
"We will do our best against Mali. Our dream is the same dream of all Egyptians, which is to qualify for the Olympics," said the 22-year-old Ahly winger.
Egypt's last participation in the Olympics was in 2012 in London.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)