El-Badry says Egypt need to improve after opening win

Ahram Online , Thursday 2 Sep 2021

El-Badry blamed fatigue for the unconvincing performance against Angola in the World Cup qualifiers but said there is still room for improvement

Egypt v Angola
Egypt players celebrate Afsha's goal against Angola (Ahram)

Coach Hossam El-Badry admitted Egypt's display in their 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Angola was not up to expectations, saying he was confident the team would get better in their next games.

An early penalty from Ahly playmaker Magdi Afsha proved enough as Egypt made a winning start to their Group F campaign on Wednesday, although they looked lethargic and bereft of ideas throughout the game.

A disjointed performance allowed Angola to mount threats, with Egypt guilty of giving away possession far too easily. The Pharaohs also appeared toothless without Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah, who could not make the game due to coronavirus restrictions in the UK.

El-Badry blamed fatigue for the unconvincing performance but said there is still room for improvement.

"This phase is the most difficult because of the tough circumstances we are enduring. We barely had time to prepare for the game and the players can be excused because they are very tired," the 61-year-old coach told the post-match news conference, referring to a lengthy domestic season that ended this month.

"In the coming games, things will get better. I'm not yet satisfied with our display but what mattered most tonight is that we got a victory."

Egypt are level on three points with Libya, who snatched a last-gasp 2-1 victory at home to Gabon. The seven-time African champions next meet Gabon away from home on Sunday.

El-Badry said he hoped Salah and Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny would be available against Gabon.

Salah's absence in particular deprived Egypt of their most lethal weapon against Angola, with wingers Ahmed Zizo and Hussein El-Shahat failing to carry out the tasks Salah usually accomplishes behind the lines.

"There is a chance that Salah and Elneny will be present against Gabon. We will check whether they can be available," El-Badry added.

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