Preview: Salah-less Egypt eye revenge against Ethiopia in AFCON qualifiers

Mahmoud Elassal , Thursday 7 Sep 2023

Egypt, already qualified for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, is set to face Ethiopia in the final round of qualifiers on Friday, but they will be without the influential Mohamed Salah.

Egypt vs Ethiopia
File Photo: Egypt lost 2-0 to Ethiopia in their second Group D game of the African Nations Cup qualifiers. Al-Ahram


The Pharaohs will aim to assert their dominance in the African Nations Cup qualifying campaign and avenge their 2-0 defeat by Ethiopia in Malawi last year.

Egypt secured their place in the tournament after finishing at the top of Group D in the qualifiers with 12 points from five games, three points ahead of second-placed Guinea, who also qualified.

Ethiopia currently sit at the bottom of the group with four points.

In preparation for the upcoming match against Ethiopia and the friendly against Tunisia on 8 and 12 September, respectively, Egypt commenced their September training camp on Monday.

"The next two games are of great importance to us. The first match against Ethiopia, who defeated us previously, will undoubtedly be challenging. However, we are determined to secure victory and finish the qualifiers in the top position," coach Rui Vitoria stated during a press conference.

Egypt's captain, Mohamed Salah, who has recently been surrounded by speculation regarding a possible move to Ittihad Jeddah, will be given a rest during the Ethiopia game, as announced by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) in a statement last week.

"The coach has made the decision not to rely on Salah for the Ethiopia game, especially considering that the team has already secured qualification for the African Cup of Nations finals," read the EFA statement.

Egypt embarked on their qualifying journey with a 1-0 win over Guinea, followed by a 2-0 loss to Ethiopia, and subsequent victories of 2-0 and 4-0 against Malawi. In the fifth round of qualifiers, they triumphed over Guinea with a 2-1 away victory.

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals are scheduled to take place in Côte d'Ivoire in January 2024.

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