Egypt’s preparation for South Africa game to start on 20 March

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Tuesday 1 Mar 2011

The Egyptian team are planning their preparations for the African Cup Qualifier against South Africa in March

Egypt's coaching stuff, Shehata, Gharib and Sedki

Egypt’s national football team are set to start their preparatory campaign for the important 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifier game against South Africa five days before the date of the match.

The president of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) Samir Zaher held a meeting on Monday with the Pharaohs’ coach Hassan Shehata to discuss the team’s programme.

The coaching staff will watch the performance of Egyptian clubs, like Ahly, Zamalek, Ismaily and Haras El Houdod, in African competitions on 18 and 19 March and use these to select the Pharaohs’ squad.

“We agreed to start our training camp on 20 March. We have no other choice,” Egypt’s assistant coach Hamada Sedki told Ahram Online on Tuesday.

The game with Bafana Bafana is critical for the Egyptians as they sit bottom of their group with a single point out of a possible six. The current circumstances in Egypt have made it hard for the African champions to prepare.

 “The time is too tight so will not be able to have any friendly games,” he said. “We are now monitoring the international players abroad with their clubs as we consider this period a part of their preparations. Ahly, Zamalek and Ismaily players will join us when they finish their African matches,” he added.

It was reported recently that the EFA has asked the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to postpone the game because of unrest at home. The southern side opposed the idea, pointing out that Egypt is not hosting the match.

“We asked to postpone the game after the unrest that followed 25 January’s revolution but CAF refused, although they did not sent us an official reply,” explained Sedki.

Egypt was dealt a blow two weeks ago by Mohamed Zidan’s injury when the Broussia Dortmund striker sustained a broken rib, but Egypt’s assistant coach has no worries about having all the key players in time.

“Zidan confirmed his return to action next week. Also, we are continuously in touch with Saudi’s Al Hilal striker Ahmed Ali and Sudanese El-Merreikh goal keeper Essam El Hadary, and they all will be ready for the trip to South Africa,” concluded Sedki.

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