Ambitious Egypt aiming high after Nations Cup progress: Cuper

Ahram Online , Thursday 26 Jan 2017,
Egypt's Argentinian coach Hector Raul Cuper reacts during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group D football match between Egypt and Ghana in Port-Gentil on January 25, 2017 AFP

Hector Cuper said Egypt are aiming high after they advanced to the African Nations Cup last eight as Group D winners following a 1-0 victory over Ghana on Wednesday.

Mohamed Salah's brilliant free kick after 11 minutes helped Egypt leapfrogg Ghana with seven points from three games, with the already-qualified Black Stars finishing second on six points.  

Egypt set up a mouthwatering quarter-final against Morocco on Sunday.

"Our ambitions in the tournament are very high," Egypt's Argentinean coach Cuper told the post-match news conference.

"We will do our best to make Egyptians proud of their national team and make them happy."

Asked about his decision to introduce right back Ahmed Fathi as a left back instead of fielding France-based defender Karim Hafez, Cuper said Fathi's experience was vital in such a high-profile clash. 

Regular left-back Mohamed Abdel-Shafi missed Ghana's game after picking an ankle injury in Egypt's 1-0 over Uganda on Saturday. According to the team doctor, he should be fit to play against Morocco.

"Fathi has a vast experience, that's why I picked him to play this role. Karim Hafez is a good player and we trust him, but it would have been a heavy responsiblity to put on his shoulders if I had played him in such a strong match," Cuper added. 

The former Inter Milan coach said that he is turning his attention on the Morocco clash, vowing to do his best to end any deficiencies in Egypt's game.

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