Egypt's Ramadan Sobhi celebrates winning the best player of the tournament with the trophy (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt's U23 national football team played the recent Africa Cup of Nations under pressure, said star winger Ramadan Sobhi after lifting his first-ever trophy as a skipper.
The in-form Ahly winger scored an extra-time winner and provided an assist as Egypt beat Cote d'Ivoire 2-1 to win the Cup title for the first time in Cairo on Friday.
"I am happy to win my first-ever title as Egypt's skipper," Sobhi, 23, told beIN Sports TV channel after the match.
"The elimination of the senior national team from the Africa Cup of Nations at home last summer put us under pressure during this tournament.
"We were trying to please the fans and we had no other choice but to win the title," he added.
Sobhi, who is on loan at Cairo giants Ahly from English second-division side Huddersfield Town, scored three goals for the young Pharaohs and played a key role in guiding them to win the prestigious title.
His outstanding performances earned him both Man of the Competition title and Man of the Match in Friday's match.
"There was a limited number of fans in the stands in the opening match, but once we delivered a good performance the fans came to support us in the rest of the matches," explained Sobhi, referring to a packed Cairo stadium as the team cruised from one victory to another in the tournament.
Egypt had ensured a place at the Olympic Games for the 12th time after defeating South Africa 3-0 in the semi final on Tuesday.
"Ensuring a place at the Tokyo Olympics wasn't enough. I told the players we must snatch the Cup, especially that the tournament is played at home," he concluded.
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