Handball: Hosts Egypt aim to go as far as possible at World Championship

Ahram Online , Tuesday 12 Jan 2021

Egypt open their World Championship campaign against Chile at Cairo's venue on Wednesday


Egypt's handball team kick off their World Championship campaign on Wednesday when they face Chile in Cairo as they look to build on the achievements of their juniors and go as far as possible in the tournament.

The Pharaohs' last participation saw them finish eighth in 2019, their best result since their fourth-place finish in 2001 in France.

"Our ambitions are not limited but I cannot make any promises," says Egypt coach Roberto García Parrondo.

 "All I can promise that we will do our best in all the games to go as far as possible," added the Spaniard.

Drawn in Group G along with Sweden, Chile and North Macedonia, who replaced Chez Republic at the last minute, Egypt's mission to clinch one of the three qualifying tickets of the group will not be difficult.

After the tournament's format was modified following its expansion to 32 teams instead of 24 for the first team, the top three teams in each group will advance to the main round.

If Egypt reach the main round, they will meet the teams who advance from Group H that includes Belarus, Russia, Republic of Korea and Slovenia.

"Egypt have a good chance of achieving something at this World Championship," Egypt player Yehya Khaled said.

"We have an excellent group of players and we aim to pass through the first round and the main group stage to reach the quarter-finals, and from there we can see whether we have the capacity to advance.

"We have a great confidence in ourselves and our coaching staff."

Egypt's preparations for the World Championship were hardly sufficient due to the coronavirus pandemic as they only played six friendly games (four against Bahrain and two against Japan).

That was mainly the case for all teams, however, as the pandemic hit preparation plans.

On paper, Egypt boast a good squad led by veteran right winger Ahmed El-Ahmar and other experienced players who play abroad such as Yehya Khaled, Mohamed Mamdouh Hashem, Mohamed Sanad and Ali Zein.

The squad also includes many players of Egypt's U19 and U21 teams such as Ahmed Hisham, Hasan Qaddah, Seif El-Deraa and Khaled Walid.

The U19 team became the first non-European side to be crowned world champions in 2019 while the U21 side finished third in the World Championship in the same year.

"We have a very good team that includes many youth players who are very talented. With this group of players we will have a good chance to go far," said Egypt star Ali Zein.

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