The Egypt National team Coach, Hector Cuper has released a 23-man list for the upcoming games a...
The Egypt National team Coach, Hector Cuper has released a 23-man list for the upcoming games against Nigeria in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Broadly speaking, the roster is a strong assemblage of the best of Egyptian players but there are five key players whose present form should cause headaches for Nigeria as the crucial clashes in Kaduna and Alexandria draw nearer.
Here’s a look at Egypt’s ‘Fantastic Five’ that may hamper Nigeria’s bid to return for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Mohamed Elneny is seen by many as the engine room of the Pharaohs’ midfield and the new Arsenal recruit will be pivotal to the chances of Egypt causing an upset or at least snatching a point against Nigeria when both teams clash at the Ahmadu Bello stadium next Friday.
Having served a glimpse of what he is capable of doing with a spectacular strike at Camp Nou against Barcelona, it will be suicidal to care less about the former Basel man.
Egypt Coach Hector Cuper sums up Elneny as an intelligent reader of the game – one who knows when to hold play and when to intercept.
Elneny’s strong points will be his passing ability, work-rate and great team play.
Quite skillful and equally sleek, Mohamed Salah usually operates from the left wing of the Pharaohs and his goals in this ongoing campaign has contributed to Egypt’s present top spot placement in Group G in the AFCON qualification series.
Though he wasn’t the hit many thought he would be in England while at Chelsea, the Egyptian has since shamed his critics with breath-taking displays in the Italian league, churning out heroic performances in the last few weeks for Roma: scoring and providing assists for his teammates.
The ex-Chelsea winger has scored ten goals in 30 appearances this season and has been a key figure in the Luciano Spalletti’s side, scoring four goals in his last six Serie A games (as at the time of this report).
In what is a remarkable run of form, the AS Roma forward seems unstoppable at this moment in time, and will strike fear into many Nigerian defenders ahead of the game.
Salah’s strong point will be his the pace, and his finishing which is improving rapidly but just how well he will fare against the Eagles backline is yet to be seen.
Mohsen is incidentally the only home-based in the ‘Fantastic Five’ list. The 27-year-old stars for Egyptian Premier League side, Ismaily. He is a top class striker and a great finisher in front of goal.
He made his debut with Egypt on September 3, 2011 against Sierra Leone in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier where he scored his first international goal, under the coaching of Hany Ramzy.
Presently with 10 goals in the ongoing season, Moshen is a great addition to the fierce looking attacking line-up called up by Hector Cuper for the double header against Nigeria.
Moshen’s strength and pace are his strong points.
Ahmed Hassan “Kouka”
This Egyptian striker is identified as the danger-man in Pharaohs squad and he is expected to lead the assault on the Super Eagles in the double header billed for Kaduna and Alexandria.
Tall, physically strong and sound technically, Hassan is somewhat reminiscent of Ahmed Mido, albeit with a much better attitude.
Kouka, as Hassan is fondly called, has scored nine goals in 16 league games for Sporting Braga this season and four in his last nine games; highlighting his form going into the crucial AFCON qualifying matches
Indeed, Egypt coach, Cuper knows he can count on Hassan and the striker has not disappointed so far; with four goals in three games in the autumn, including a brace versus Chad in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.
The Pharaohs have high hopes for the tournament billed for Gabon next year. They believe that the current crop of young talents can end their miserable run of not qualifying for the AFCON in the last three editions.
Mahmoud Hassan ‘Trezeguet’
Mahmoud Hassan ‘Trezeguet’ plays for Belgian side Anderlecht, though he has only played four games totaling 107 minutes since joining the club, starting only against Gent.
The highly rated deep-lying play-maker is adept at making surging runs going forward, fueled with energy and great ball control.
Those qualities are likely due to the fact that he was raised as a striker, thus improving his skills and shooting ability.
The Super Eagles central midfield must be wary of his dynamism and attacking threat posed by Mahmoud Hassan.