Egypt will be seeking not to leave South Africa empty-handed when they meet Mali in the African Youth Championship third-place playoff on Sunday.
The young pharaohs could not reach the tournament’s final after losing to Cameroon following a controversial penalty shootout.
Mohamed El-Shennawi blocked two spot-kicks but the referee ordered a replay on both occasions after the Egypt keeper allegedly moved off the goal-line before the penalties were taken.
Cameroon settled the tie in their favor with a 4-2 win on penalties after a goalless draw to shatter Egypt’s hopes of winning the tournament for the first time since 2003.
But Egypt, who achieved their ultimate target of qualifying for the U-20 World Cup later this year, still have something to play for.
“I asked my players to fully concentrate on our game against Mali,” Egypt coach Diaa El-Sayed, who took over following the sudden resignation of Mostafa Younis right after the team reached the African Championship last year, said.
“I’m aware that the players could play that game with a low morale following the defeat against Cameroon.
“But I’m sure we can win if we overcome that psychological barrier,” the former ENPPI manager added.
Egypt slumped to a 1-0 loss to Mali in the group stage although the latter played with ten men for around 80 minutes following the early dismissal of Kalifa Coulibaly.
El-Sayed’s team will start preparing for the World Cup after ending their African campaign.
They were drawn in Group E along with four-time winners Brazil, Austria and Panama.