Gambia coach Saintfiet favours Egypt to beat Morocco in AFCON 2021 quarterfinals

Mahmoud Elassal , Friday 28 Jan 2022

Gambia national team coach Tom Saintfiet believes that Egypt’s unique frontline advantage could help the Pharaohs beat Morocco in the quarterfinals of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.

Tom Saintfiet
Gambia s head coach Tom Saintfiet, reacts during the African Cup of Nations 2022 group F soccer match between Gambia and Tunisia at the Omnisport Stadium in Limbe, Cameroon, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. AP

“I think Morocco is a very good team but they suffer from playing without a striker while Egypt have a brilliant frontline with the participation of Mohamed Salah who can make the difference,” Saintfiet told an Egyptian television programme on Friday.

“Morocco have an organised squad but they do not have a unique technique in the frontline,” the 48-year-old Belgian coach added.

Egypt, placed 45 in FIFA world ranking, booked their place the AFCON 2021 quarterfinals after beating topflight Cote d'Ivoire on Wednesday in the round of last 16.

The Pharaohs opened their AFCON campaign with a 0-1 loss to Nigeria after being outplayed before labouring in two 1-0 wins over minnows Guinea-Bissau and Sudan.

However, the Pharaohs looked much improved in their match against Cote d'Ivoire, with the team defending doggedly and attacking consistently in a match that went to extra time, before eventually coming out on top 5-4 in penalty shootout.

Morocco, placed 28 in FIFA world ranking, opened the AFCON with a 1-0 win over Ghana, 2-0 win over Comoros and 2-2 draw with Gabon in Group C games.

The Atlas Lions defeated Malawi 2-1 in the round of last 16 to reach the quarterfinals.

Under the helm of Saintfiet, Gambia are expected to face a tough mission against hosts Cameroon in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

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