El-Badry (2nd from left) with Egypt's national team technical staff members (Photo: EFA's official website)
Egypt's national team coach Hossam El-Badry said he hopes fans would fill the stadium during Thursday's match against Kenya in the 2021 Africa Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifiers, adding that his recent decision to exclude Pyramids FC players was purely disciplinary.
"We need the full support of enthusiastic football fans. I hope to find the fans filling the stadium in the match against Kenya. The absence of fans has always affected everything negatively," the coach told MBC Masr TV Channel early on Saturday.
In the first official match under newly appointed coach El-Badry, the Pharaohs will host their Kenyan counterparts at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium in the first match of the AFCON qualifiers. The team will face Comoros in the second match away from home four days later.
"We are preparing well for the Kenya match. Our full concentration now is on the two matches in the qualifiers," explained El-Badry.
"We want to make a good start for our campaign in the qualifiers. We work quietly and as time passes we achieve our targets," he added.
Since El-Badry's appointment, Egypt won two friendly matches amid preparations for the African qualifiers, beating Botswana 1-0 last month before claiming a late 1-0 win over Liberia on Thursday.
Pyramids players' omission
On Wednesday, El-Badry decided to exclude seven players from Pyramids FC whom he previously called up for the camp ahead of the Kenya and Comoros matches.
Pyramids said they won't release their players until 72 hours before the Kenya game, as per FIFA regulations, before reversing their decision on Tuesday, but El-Badry had his own reasons to insist on the exclusion.
"This disciplinary decision was a must. We saw that the team gathering was necessary amid the league's suspension, but the club's decision wasn't in place," he concluded.
Egypt is competing in the 2021 AFCON qualifiers and the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
The former Ahly player and coach El-Badry is the first Egyptian manager in Egypt's hot seat in four years following Argentinean tactician Hector Cuper (2015-2018) and Javier Aguirre (2018-2019).(2018-2019).
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