Queiroz's faith in new faces pays off as Egypt march on

Hatem Maher , Saturday 4 Dec 2021

Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz seems to be reaping the rewards of the faith he had shown in some fringe players, having abandoned the tradition of mainly picking the home-based footballers who play for Ahly and Zamalek.

 Carlos Queiroz
Egypt s coach Carlos Queiroz looks on during the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 group D football match between Sudan and Egypt at the 974 Stadium, formerly knows as Ras Abu Aboud, in the Qatari capital city of Doha on December 4, 2021 (AFP)

As the old saying goes, you can seldom force your way into the national team if you are not playing for either of Cairo's famed clubs. But Queiroz has demonstrated otherwise, having made bold choices in his selections for the ongoing FIFA Arab Cup in Qatar.

Two of the new faces, wingers Ahmed Refaat and Hussein Faisal, shone with a goal apiece as Egypt hammered nine-man Sudan 5-0 to reach the Arab Cup quarters with one match to spare in Group D on Saturday.

Refaat, who plays for Future FC -- a newly-promoted Egyptian Premier League club -- opened the scoring after four minutes with a sublime, scorching volley that is a contender for the goal of the tournament.

Faisal, who joined Alexandria-based club Smouha after being offloaded by Zamalek in the close season, provided an assist for Mahmoud El-Wensh after dribbling past a couple of challengers near the byline in the first half before finding the net with a simple tap-in after the break.

He was named Man of the Match, an award that Queiroz should be proud of after making good on a promise that he will leave no stone unturned in his bid to find new talents.

"Firstly, I would like to congratulate the player sitting next to me, Hussein Faisal … he will make a big name for himself in the coming period," the veteran Portuguese boss told the post-match news conference.

"There are many new players in the national team, and this tournament is their chance to grow together and demonstrate their talent."  

Queiroz said more than once he would like to make the most of the Arab Cup to unearth new talents, but acknowledged that Egypt's demanding fans would love to see their team go all the way.

Egypt next meet Algeria, who also reached the quarters with maximum six points, on Tuesday in an anticipated game between two North African rivals, which will determine who advance as the Group D leaders.

"It's the right of all teams in the tournament to dream of winning the title. We have that dream too. But our focus now is preparing for the Algeria game," Queiroz added.

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