Egypt are favorites in the qualifying stages, says Gabon coach

Mahmoud Sheleib , Tuesday 25 Aug 2020

Neveu assures that his target is to qualify for the World Cup and AFCON despite competing against experienced Egypt

Egypt's Ahmed Elmohamady celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates (Photo: Reuters)

Gabon national team coach Patrice Neveu revealed that the Pharaohs are the team that is closest to qualifying for the World Cup from the group that includes both teams.

The African qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Africa Cup of Nations 2022 are expected to start in the upcoming period after the postponement caused by the global pandemic.

"Our first target is to make the 2022 AFCON in Cameroon. Everyone in Gabon was disappointed to miss out on the most recent edition of the tournament, so a return is a must for us,” the 66-year-old French tactician told the FIFA official website

Gabon are playing in a group alongside Egypt, Libya and Angola.

“Egypt are favorites in this section because they’re more experienced and have high-quality players such as Mohamed Salah," said Neveu. "However, I think our team can spring a surprise. We have to believe in our ability to finish top of the group and make the play-off round. We’re going to have a tough game in Egypt, but we can get a positive result there.”

The former Ismaily coach Neuve praised his team, saying that they have some top players like Egypt has, and when they focus on teamwork, they can get good results, despite their squad lacking some strength, both in terms of the quantity and quality of back-up players.

Arsenal star and the 2019 Premier League golden boot winner Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is one of the Gabonese squad’s key players.

Les Pantheres have never played in the World Cup, while their best run was achieved during the Africa Cup of Nations 1996 and 2012, where they were eliminated from the quarterfinals.


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