Egypt coach Cuper trusts players to make up for absentees against Burkina Faso

Ahram Online , Tuesday 31 Jan 2017,
Egypt's Argentinian coach Hector Raul Cuper gives a press conference on January 28, 2017 AFP

Egypt coach Hector Cuper said his team have been affected by a series of injuries ahead of Burkina Faso's semifinal clash in the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday but that he is confident their replacements will be up to the task.

"Mohamed Elneny, Mohamed Abdel-Shafi and Marwan Mohsen are not available for the game. I'm very sad because of these injuries but I'm confident the other players we have can step in and cover," the Argentinean tactician told a presser on Tuesday.

Midfielder Elneny and left-back Abdel-Shafi are unavailable for the second straight match due to muscle injuries while striker Mohsen tore a cruciate knee ligament against Morocco in Sunday's 1-0 quarter-final win over Morocco.

Sporting Braga forward Ahmed "Kouka" Hassan was set to replace Mohsen as a target man but he too sustained an injury leading to his absence, while tireless midfielder Ahmed Fathi will take Elneny's place in midfield.

It's still unclear if Cuper will field Karim Hafez in the left back position again after he produced an unconvincing performance against Morocco or if he will give a chance to Basel's Omar Gaber to make his tournament debut.

After their return among Africa's elite for the first time since completing an unprecedented hat-trick of Nations Cup triumphs in 2010, the Pharaohs qualified for the semi final and are considered favourites to overcome Burkina Faso and reach the final.

"We are not looking to history or even thinking about the final; we are only focused on Burkina Faso's game," Cuper added.

"They are a strong team. They do not have a big history but they beat several teams with big history to reach the semis. They are very disciplined and it will be a tough game that will be only decided on the pitch."

Egypt has never lost to Burkina Faso in six meetings. The Pharaohs beat them in the 1998 Nations Cup semis before winning the title at the expense of South Africa.

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


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