Egypt will no longer suffer heavy defeat, says Cuper
Egypt coach, Hector Cuper, insists there would not be a repeat of any humiliating defeats such as the one the team suffered in 2013 against Ghana as the Pharaohs prepare for a crunch double-header against Nigeria in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers, reports ahramonline.com.
The seven-time African champions missed out on a place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil following a stunning 7-3 aggregate defeat by Ghana that included an embarrassing 6-1 first-leg loss in Kumasi under American coach, Bob Bradley.
Cuper is confident such outcomes will never occur again as Egypt face Nigeria in Kaduna on Friday before hosting them four days later at Alexandria’s Borg El-Arab Stadium.
“We can beat Nigeria and it’s impossible to repeat what happened against Ghana when the team lost 6-1,” Cuper told a news conference yesterday.
“I usually don’t promise any certain outcomes but I’m confident that we are capable of overcoming Nigeria.”
Egypt are leading Group G with six points from two victories over Chad and Tanzania, two ahead of second-placed Nigeria.
With only the group winners guaranteed automatic qualification for next year’s Nations Cup finals in Gabon, Egypt can move to within touching distance of ending a six-year absence from the biennial tournament by avoiding defeat against Nigeria.
“All people know the importance of Nigeria game and this is a double-edged weapon. If we win, that will be deemed a success and if we lose, we will be subjected to harsh comments and our work during the past period will be ruined,” Argentinean coach Cuper added.
“I have the utmost confidence in the abilities of my players.”
Cuper also commented on statements from Nigeria coach Samson Siasia that he was confident the Super Eagles would emerge winners.
“They are surely free to say that and we respect them, but such statements can never affect the morale of my players. Otherwise, we will not deserve to represent Egypt,” he said.
The former Valencia and Inter Milan boss also said he was pleased Ahly and Zamalek managed to qualify for the CAF Champions League round of 16 with easy wins, given that Egypt’s squad is mainly made up of players from the Cairo duo.
He also said he does not mind being sacked if Egypt fail to overcome Nigeria.
“I have no problems with Egypt Football Association if they decided to terminate my contract.”
Meanwhile, the Pharaohs’ Assistant Coach, Osam Nabir, has revealed that Cuper believes that Nigeria have more choices in their squad ahead of the two sides’ games in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, but he is ready to secure a place in the tournament’s finals.
Nabih revealed that there are three difficulties that worry Cuper ahead of the two games.
“The first difficulty is Nigeria is a big name in the African continent, despite failing to reach the last edition of the Africa Cup,” Nabih told a radio programme yesterday.
“Nigeria is coached by Samson Siasia who reached the Olympic Games by placing first with the U-23 team,” he added.
“Moreover, Nigeria have 22 foreign-based players alongside well prepared ones in the domestic Nigerian league. So Siasia possess all the tool that lead to success,” the Pharaohs assistant coach said.
“Despite the difficulty of the Nigeria game, we are working to improve our chance of qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals in the coming Nigeria game,” Nabih said.
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