Egypt coach Cuper settles Nigeria showdown lineup

Mahmoud Elassal , Sunday 28 Feb 2016

The Pharaohs coach promises to do better against Nigeria in the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers in March

Hector Cuper
Hector Cuper March 10, 2015 (AP)

After concluding their preparation for their upcoming Africa Cup of Nations 2017 qualifying clash with Nigeria, Egypt's Argentinean manager Hector Cuper announced that he finally reached the final lineup for the crucial game.

Egypt won their last friendly game against a local-based Burkina Faso team 2-0 at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab stadium on Saturday.

"I am satisfied with the Burkina Faso game and I will work to avoid the mistakes made in the friendly when we face Nigeria," Cuper told the post game press conference.

Cuper defended the Pharaohs after having been criticised for playing friendlies against minor teams during preparations for a big game against Nigeria.

"Egypt's national team also played with local-based players like Burkina Faso did."

Nigeria crunch showdown

Nigeria will host Egypt on 25 March in the first leg of the 2017 Cup of Nations qualifiers, while the return match will be played in Alexandria on 29 March.

"We almost reached the final lineup with the start of the Nigeria game," the Argentinean coach said.

"We build our squad depending on the players' performance in the recent games.

"The Nigeria game is a test to determine our real abilities, and we will do our best during this game.

"I understand the criticism after facing minor teams since we didn't reach the high performance we all look for but we will when we play against Nigeria," Cuper added.

Egypt prepared for the clash with Nigeria with three as they lost a game 1-0 with Jordan and won two games 3-0 over Zambia, 2-0 over Burkina Faso.

"I know the teams we played are more minor than our team but they are the available teams during this time," Egypt's coach said.

El-Hadary role with Egypt

Veteran goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary has rejoined the Egypt squad for the first time since 2014, ahead of the Pharaohs' friendly match against Burkina Faso, but watched the game from the bench.

The 43-year-old Wadi Degla goalkeeper El-Hadary missed national duty for almost 15 months as the technical staff mainly depended on Ahly's goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy.

"El-Hadary has been performing well recently and he is brilliant leader in the pitch," Cuper told the conference.

"He is ready to take part in Nigeria game at anytime," Egypt's national team manager concluded.

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