Egypt coach Cuper backs under-fire Elneny ahead of Ghana clash

Mohmed Elneny wasn’t able to make his presence felt in Egypt’s last two clashes in the Nations cup against Mali and Uganda

Ahram Online , Monday 23 Jan 2017,
Egypt's Mohamed Elneny takes part in a training session at Cairo Staduim during their final training camp, ahead of the 2017 African Cup of Nations which is scheduled to take place on Gabon next week, Cairo, Egypt January 11, 2017 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's manager Hector Cuper gave his backing to Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny after he was criticised for an unconvincing performance with the Pharaohs during the ongoing Nations Cup.

The 25-year-old played the full 90 minutes in Egypt's two games against Mali and Uganda but he failed to make his presence felt in both games, but Cuper leapt to the defence of his midfielder, insisting that he believes in the player's capacities and his role with the team.

"I am very satisfied with Elneny's performance and what he delivers to the team," Cuper told a news conference on Monday.

Cuper played-down all fears concerning the eventual absence of the team's fullback Mohamed Abdel-Shafi, adding that the trio Ahmed Fathi, Omar Gaber and Karim Hafez are ready to replace the Ittihad Jeddah defender in case of his absence.

An ankle injury picked-up during Egypt's 1-0 win over Uganda on Saturday rendered Abdel-Safi doubtful for Wednesday's clash against Ghana.

"Ahmed Fathi, Omar Gaber and Karim Hafez are ready to replace Abdel-Shafi."

The former Inter Milan coach added that there are no problems with the team's youth midfielder Ramadan Sobhi who expressed his displeasure after being replaced against Uganda, confirming that he accepted the player’s apology.

"There are no problems with Ramadan. I met with him and the player has apologised for his behavior during the Uganda clash," he concluded.

Asked if Mahmoud 'Kahraba' Abdel-Razek will have a role with the Pharaohs against Ghana after his fine displays against Uganda, Cuper said that he knows the capabilities of his players and he selects those who suit his tactics in the different games.   

The lively winger played the last ten minutes against Uganda, helping the Pharaohs to be more dangerous going forward and he orchestrated the decisive move one minute from time.

Egypt are second in the group with four points from two games, two behind leaders Ghana who secured their place in the last eight with a narrow 1-0 victory over Mali on Saturday.

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

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