Egypt confident ahead of second African cup match
Egypt, its players and supporters, are confident it will basically punch its ticket to the quarterfinals on Saturday in its second African Cup match versus Mozambique. The Pharaoh’s, coming off a solid victory over Nigeria earlier in the week, believe they are on track toward a record third consecutive African title.
For their part, Egyptians at cafes across the country are already looking ahead to the possibility of rectifying a poor World Cup qualifying performance that saw the Egyptian side lose out to Algeria in a playoff. The loss left Egyptians sour, but the African Cup has renewed spirits that Egypt can build on its away form.
“We have always struggled away from home,” said Sherif Nasr, an avid football fan. “So, we need to take a chance with younger players in order to develop their history and experience so in four years’ time there will not be any doubt about us making it to the next World Cup.”
Even without key players, it embarrassed African giant Nigeria as it began its campaign to take an unprecedented 7th overall championship.
“It was not an easy game,” Egypt striker Mohamed Zidan said after the match. “Nigeria has a strong side with experienced and known players. We were a goal down and came back strongly to win the game. We never gave up and we deserved victory.”
Fans back in Cairo celebrated a victory for the first time since Egypt miraculously forced a playoff with Algeria, but then, the happiness was stymied three days later as Algeria sent Egypt packing, punching its South Africa ticket.
“We are pleased with our squad and hope there is more to come and it was a nice reminder that we do have a good team. Now, it is time to take advantage of these opportunities to build a future. We have to make the World Cup next time,” Nasr added.
Egypt and Nigeria are in Group C along with Mozambique and Benin