Egypt will not surrender Group G leadership, says captain
Plans international friendly with Cameroun
With their eyes set on an eighth African Nations Cup title, Egypt have no intention of relinquishing their leadership of the Group G in the Gabon 2017 qualifying race.
The Pharaohs beat Chad 5-1 away from home on Sunday and team captain, Sherif Ekramy says now that they have established their leadership in Group, they would hold on to it until the final games.
Egypt will face Nigeria next in the qualifying series and pundits believe that the outcome of the two back-to-back matches would determine who qualifies automatically for Gabon.
To ensure that the Pharaohs are in prime condition when they meet the Super Eagles in March, next year, the Egypt Football Association has arranged for a friendly against Cameroun on October 9.
It is also looking for other friendly opportunities with West African countries to attune the team to the conditions they will face when they meet Nigeria.
Nigeria will host the Egyptians on March 24, 2016 and move to Cairo for the return leg three days later. Egyptian Football Association (EFA) Vice-President, Hassan Farid, announced at the weekend, “the Camerounian FA sent us an official invitation to play a friendly on 5 October. “I discussed it with Egypt’s coach Cuper, who welcomed the offer but asked that we push the date back to coordinate with our commitment to another friendly with Australia on 13 October. “We have sent this request to the Camerounian FA and we are waiting for their response.”
The seven-time African champions have failed to reach the continent’s football showpiece three tournaments on the trot. The last time Egypt failed to qualify for two consecutive tournaments was in the 1960s when they missed out on the 1965 and 1968 African Cup of Nations tournaments.
But Skipper Ekramy believes such misfortune will not befall the Pharaohs again, saying the former actually want to add another title to their record seven trophies. “We want to return back again to Africa Cup of Nations and when we reach there I am sure we will write history.
We haven’t qualified since 2010 and that gives us motivation to do our best this time,” Ekramy is quoted as saying on SuperSport.com “Now we have a very good squad and a new generation of players too, and I am sure we will make the nation proud. I can’t think about Nigeria now, we will play them next March then I can talk,” the 32-year-old said.