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Preview: Egypt U23 team eye Nations Cup title after Olympics' success

Egypt look to win the U23 Africa Cup of Nations title for the first time in the country's history

Ahram Online , Thursday 21 Nov 2019
Mohamed
Egypt's Mostafa Mohamed celebrates scoring against Cameroon (Photo: Reuters)
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After securing their place in next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo, Egypt’s U23 team will be looking for another achievement as they chase the competition's title on Friday when they face Cote d'Ivoire in the final at Cairo Stadium.

The Pharaohs, who reached the final following a 3-0 win over South Africa in the semis on Tuesday, will be aiming to continue their winning run in the competition and win the title for the first time in the country's history.

"Winning the title will be a great achievement alongside our success in reaching the Olympic Games," coach Shawki Gharib told the pre-match news conference on Thursday.

"We produced a strong performance during the competition and I hope to keep our winning rhythm in the final."

Egypt ended the group stage with a maximum nine points after defeating Mali 1-0, Ghana 3-2 and Cameroon 2-1, respectively.

In the semis, they outclassed South Africa 3-0 to secure their place in Tokyo 2020.

The Pharaohs’ mission in the final will not be easy, as they will face a resilient Cote d’Ivoire, who’ve produced a convincing performance during the competition so far.

They ended the group stage at the top of Group B before overcoming Ghana in the semis on shootouts.

"The game will be tough. Cote d'Ivoire are a good team and I hope that we will be lucky in the final," Gharib added.

Theoretically, Pharaohs coach will adopt a balanced strategy during the final, especially with the shaky performance of his backline players.

The Pharaohs defence is not solid and previous games saw many mistakes from the defenders that will not be acceptable in a crucial game like the final.

Offensively, Gharib depended completely on the duo Ramadan Sobhi and Moustafa Mohamed.The former is one of the top performers in the tournament, scoring twice and providing one assist, while the latter is the competition's top scorer with four goals so far.

"I choose my players depending upon the game’s requirement. I am fully confident in my players’ capabilities and I promise that we will do our best on Friday to win the title and to make Egyptians happy."

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

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