Egypt s coach Rui Vitoria. EFA
After eight successive wins in all competitions for over a year, the Pharaohs conceded their first loss under the guidance of the Portuguese tactician while hosting the Carthage Eagles in a friendly game at home.
“The Tunisia game was a challenge for us. We didn’t start the game perfectly, but the performance improved gradually and we didn’t score more goals because of bad luck,” Vitoria said at the press conference held after the game.
"I don't like to lose, but when it happens, I'd rather it be because of my choices," not external factors.
Egypt clinched a 1-0 victory against Ethiopia in the final 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier on Friday. Subsequently, four Ahly players were released from the camp to prepare for Friday's Super Cup match.
However, Vitoria dismissed the notion that the absence of Ahly players contributed to the loss to Tunisia, attributing the defeat to other external factors.
He stated, "The absence of Ahly players is not the cause; rather, I am addressing the broader system. Despite winning all the previous matches, I have not felt entirely at ease during any training camp due to ongoing crises that often disrupt the players' focus."
He continued, "In every camp, there is something that hampers our preparations. In a previous camp, there was a CAF-related match, and I required some rest to work without disturbances."
On 13 May, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) asked the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to postpone the African Cup qualifier against Guinea due to the time proximity with the Champions League final.
The Guinea game was scheduled for 14 June, just three days after the Champions League final.
The CAF rejected the request and the Pharaohs played the game with seven Champions League winners Ahly players in the squad.
Vitoria said the majority of his players had recently returned from their summer vacation, which was the main reason behind the loss to Tunisia.
Vitoria pointed out that "the lack of fitness and the prolonged absence of players from competitive matches with their respective teams contributed to the loss."
He acknowledged Tunisia's strength, particularly with their foreign-based players who had a head start in the season and viewed the Egypt match as a crucial encounter.
Despite this setback, Vitoria has approximately four months to address these issues and prepare his team for the Africa Cup of Nations, scheduled for January 2024.
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