Egypt AFCON starting line-up almost settled, eye winning start against Zimbabwe: Ramzy

Sunday's friendly match against Guinea is an opportunity for the technical staff of Egypt's national team to make final adjustments ahead of this month's AFCON 2019

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Sunday 16 Jun 2019,
 Assistant coach Ramzy
Egypt's assistant coach Hany Ramzy (R) with goalkeepers' coach Ahmed Nagy and team director Ihab Leheta (L) during Saturday's night training session (Photo: EFA's official facebook page)

The technical staff of Egypt's national team is almost settled on a starting line-up for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), according to assistant coach Hany Ramzy who insisted that winning the opening match against Zimbabwe is a must.

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

The Pharaohs claimed a narrow win over Tanzania on Thursday in the first friendly of its final preparatory camp. They will face Guinea Sunday in the final warm-up match.

"The Guinea match is a good chance to test all our players and get them ready for our different strategies for the tournament," Ramzy was quoted as saying Sunday on the Facebook page of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA).

"The technical staff is almost settled on the majority of the team's starting line-up in the African Cup, but all players should be physically and technically fit as the tournament is a long one and every player will play his own role.

"The players' lively spirit since the camp start makes the technical staff confident about achieving the targeted results," he added.

A much needed strong start

The record seven-time African champions Egypt will play in Group A along with DR Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Egypt will kick off the tournament by playing Zimbabwe on 21 June.

"Our full concentration is on the opening match against Zimbabwe. Winning the kick off match is always important as it boosts the players' morale, especially as ending the group stage as group leaders is our main target," the former Ahly stopper Ramzy explained.

"This doesn't mean we don't care about the other opponents. We studied our group rivals well since the draw, to settle on the best playing strategy that ensures success in every match.

"I am optimistic on the team's chances in the tournament especially amid preparations made by the technical staff, the players' high morale and full concentration," he concluded.

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

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

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Group A W D L P
3 0 0 9
1 1 1 4
DR Congo
1 0 2 3
0 1 2 1
Group B W D L P
2 1 0 7
2 0 1 6
1 1 1 4
0 0 3 0
Group C W D L P
3 0 0 9
2 0 1 6
1 0 2 3
0 0 3 0
Group D W D L P
3 0 0 9
Cote d'Ivoire
2 0 1 6
South Africa
1 0 2 3
0 0 3 0
Group E W D L P
2 1 0 7
0 3 0 3
0 2 1 2
0 2 1 2
Group F W D L P
1 2 0 5
1 2 0 5
0 3 0 3
Guinea Bissau
0 1 2 1