Preview: Egypt likely to seal smooth passage to AFCON last 16

Ahram Online , Tuesday 18 Jan 2022

Egypt will be overwhelming favourites to join Group D leaders Nigeria in the African Cup of Nations round of 16 when they meet Sudan in Cameroonian capital Yaounde on Wednesday.

Egypt v Sudan
Sudan s defender Ather el-Tahir (C) vies for the ball with Egypt s midfielder Amr El-Sulaya (L) and Egypt s defender Ayman Ashraf during the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 group D football match between Sudan and Egypt at the 974 Stadium (AFP)

Although Egypt have been uninspiring so far in the tournament, they are unlikely to find difficulty brushing aside Sudan, who could only collect one point  from their opening two matches.

The Pharaohs, who are second in the group with three points, three behind already-qualified Nigeria, need only a draw against Sudan to ensure their progress to the knockout phase as they target their first Nations Cup crown since 2010.

But their dull displays are casting doubts over their ability to go all the way.

They kicked off their campaign with a 1-0 loss to Nigeria after being outplayed for most of the game before scraping a 1-0 win over minnows Guinea-Bissau.

Local reports suggested that coach Carlos Queiroz could face the axe should Egypt continue their stuttering form but the Portuguese downplayed criticism.

"We're living in a different world (with Covid-19), a different society, a different football," Queiroz told the pre-match news conference.

"The only thing that didn't change is criticisms for ourselves (coaches). The coach can't make a magic situation.

"We're doing our best and people on TV or in the media criticise. This is part of the show, we need to be ready for this event."

Egypt were also unfortunate to lose some key players in defence through injury. They will play against Sudan with a makeshift backline after three of the four defenders were ruled out of the game.

Right-back Akram Tawfik is out of the tournament after sustaining a serious knee injury while central defender Mahmoud El-Wensh and left-back Ahmed Fattouh are still nursing injuries.

Egypt's last meeting with Sudan saw them crush their neighbours 5-0 in a one-sided FIFA Arab Cup game in December.

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

Short link: