Belal hat-trick helps Egypt reach Nile Basin final

Hatem Maher, Friday 14 Jan 2011

Hosts Egypt claim 5-1 victory over Kenya to reach the final of the Nile Basin friendly tournament

Egypt national team

Rejuvenated striker Ahmed Belal scored a hat-trick as Egypt eased into the Nile Basin final with a crushing 5-1 victory over Kenya in Cairo on Friday.

Once regarded as one of Egypt's finest footballers, Belal, 30 years, was given a new lease of life by Shehata after a seven-year absence from the national team selection after a succession of injuries and a notable dip in form took their toll on him.

Egypt, who are preparing for a crunch African Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa in March, will face Uganda in the Nile Basin final after the latter secured a surprise 1-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier in the day.

Belal needed 13 minutes to put Egypt in front when he superbly chested down a long pass from lively forward Mahmoud Abdel-Razek 'Shikabala' before sending a low shot into the bottom corner from inside the area.

Shikabala had a hand in Egypt's second goal on 21 minutes when he let a pass roll past him on the edge of the area to allow striker Al-Sayed Hamdi to gather the ball and fire home.

Combative defender Wael Gomaa, who recently celebrated earning his 100th international cap, scored a rare goal with a simple tap in four minutes later to effectively end the game as a contest.

Kenya pulled one back five minutes past the hour mark through a goal from Kevin Omondi but never looked capable of causing an upset against seven-time African champions Egypt.

Belal further staked his claim for a regular place in Egypt's squad when he added the fourth few minutes later after making the most of a rebound. He then completed his hat-trick  with an 89th-minute goal.

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