Cuper satisfied with Egypt’s draw with Colombia, working to cover Salah’s absence

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Saturday 2 Jun 2018,
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Cuper
Cuper (R) with his assistant Mahmoud Fayez in the press conference after Colombia match (Photo: EFA's official facebook page)

Egypt coach Hector Cuper says he is satisfied with the 0-0 draw in Friday’s friendly match against Colombia amid preparations for the upcoming World Cup, insisting that he is working on covering the absence of the Pharaohs’ injured star Mohamed Salah.

“The result is good, especially as the players’ performances were affected by the fact that they were fasting,” the coach said in the press conference after the match, referring to the Islamic month of Ramadan during which Muslims fast during daylight hours.

“We are trying to solve this problem with nutrition experts, to avoid the negative results of the players fasting from food and water for a large number of hours,” he added.

Egypt previously managed a 1-1 draw against hosts Kuwait in the first friendly game of the team's final preparatory camp ahead of the World Cup, before holding Colombia to a draw in the Italian city of Bergamo.

The seven-time African champions will kick off their World Cup campaign on 15 June against Uruguay, then face hosts Russia on 19 June. Their final Group A match will be against Saudi Arabia on 25 June.

Premier League wunderkind Mohamed Salah is still in doubt for the opening match as he is still recovering from a shoulder injury that he picked in the UEFA Champions League final a week ago.

“We are working to cover the absence of Salah. The players responded perfectly to our instructions, but Salah’s absence affects any team negatively,” Cuper explained.

“I am most worried about turning from defence to striking in a quick time. I tried to reach a satisfied form for my team especially as we were playing against a big team like Colombia. The draw was a good result but we want to win in the coming matches,” he concluded.

In March, Egypt lost to Portugal and Greece in two friendly matches held during their first training camp in Switzerland.

Egypt will face Belgium in their final friendly on Wednesday, before flying to Russia to make their first World Cup appearance since 1990, when they were eliminated at the group stage.

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