Egypt will be taking AFCON 'step by step': Assistant coach Hany Ramzy

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Monday 10 Jun 2019,
Hany Ramzy
Assistant coach Hany Ramzy (M) with Egypt players during Sunday's training session amid preparations for the African Cup (Photo: EFA's official facebook page)

The Egypt national team will be taking the African Cup of Nations “step by step,” according to assistant coach Hany Ramzy, who is hoping for a strong start in the group stage.

"We are competing for the title, but we won't think of the final at the beginning; as we will take the mission step by step," Ramzy told ON Sport channel on Sunday.

Egypt is hosting this year’s Nations Cup, which has been expanded to 24 teams. It will take place from 21 June to 19 July.

On Friday the team begun their final preparatory closed camp, two weeks ahead of the beginning of the prestigious tournament.

"Time is limited ahead of the tournament so we are working hard on different aspects. The first step was putting in place physical programs for every player, whether the foreign-based ones or Zamalek's exhausted players, according to everyone's specific physical measures," the former Ahly star added.

"Zamalek players are exhausted on both the physical and mental levels after the recent triumph in the African Confederation Cup, so they need a specific program.

"We also need to examine all the called-up players through the two friendly matches, as we need to settle on the substitute players who will support us in the long tournament.”

Egypt will play two friendly matches as part of their preparations: the first against Tanzania on 13 June, and the second against Guinea three days later.

Record seven-time African champions, Egypt will play in Group A alongside DR Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe test

Egypt will kick off the tournament by playing Zimbabwe on 21 June. Zimbabwe were recently held to a 0-0 draw by Nigeria in a friendly.

"It will be a strong start. We hope to get a positive result as it would be a good boost to continue our campaign successfully," Ramzy said about the Zimbabwe opener.

"We are monitoring the Zimbabwe team very well. They are known for their solid defence, quick attacks and for depending on long balls," he added.

Full concentration

The Egyptian Premier League is currently suspended due to the national team's preparations. The league is set to be resumed after the African Cup, with only two rounds remaining, despite strong objections from title-holders Ahly, who wanted to end the domestic competition ahead of the African tournament.

"We are fully concentrating on our work. We are keeping ourselves and also the players away from any problems as we want to achieve our target," the assistant coach said.

"If the football association ask us to allow some players to return to resume the league with their clubs, the technical staff will discuss this possibility," he concluded.

With Javier Aguirre at the helm, the Pharaohs are seeking to win the prestigious title for the first time since 2010, the last of their seven victories.

Egypt reached the final of the 2017 edition, only to lose 2-1 to Cameroon.

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

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