Preview: Rui Vitoria starts Egypt reign with friendly against Niger

Ahram Online , Thursday 22 Sep 2022

Rui Vitoria will get to watch Egypt players in action for the first time when they host Niger in Alexandria in a friendly game on Friday.

Rui Vitoria


The Portuguese was named as Egypt's new boss in July, succeeding Ehab Galal whose brief tenure lasted just three games.

A stunning 2-0 loss to Ethiopia in an African Nations Cup qualifier and a 4-1 defeat by South Korea in a friendly prompted the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) to show Galal the door and bring in Vitoria.

Vitora, a two-time Portuguese league winner with Benfica, is vastly experienced but he had never managed a national team. He is tasked with reviving the fortunes of an Egypt side that suffered two heartbreaks earlier this year.

In February, Egypt lost to Senegal on penalties in the African Nations Cup final and, a month later, they suffered another shootout defeat by the same opponents in a World Cup qualifying playoff, thus missing out on a place in the Qatar finals.

Egypt won't play any competitive games this year but Vitoria will have a chance to assess his squad in three friendly matches. The Pharaohs will also face Liberia on Tuesday before meeting Belgium in a high-profile friendly in November, a few days before the World Cup gets underway.

"I know I have a big responsibility. But I am ready for all the challenges," the 52-year-old wrote on Instagram after being unveiled as Egypt's new boss.

Vitoria stuck the old guard when he announced his squad for the Niger and Liberia friendly games but still picked several uncapped players, including Pharco FC midfielder Mahmoud Hamada, Ahly's full-back Karim Fouad and Pyramids defender Osama Galal.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah will spearhead Egypt's attack, with Nantes frontman Mostafa Mohamed likely to occupy the lone striker role.

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