AFCON Team Preview: Egypt21 May 2019
As the Africa Cup of Nations is less than a month away, we’re going to take a look at the notable sides who feature in the latest rendition in 2019.
And what better place to start than the hosts of the tournament, and record seven-time winners, Egypt.
The 11/2 favourites for the 32nd edition of the tournament are fronted by familiar names such as Ramadan Sobhi (Huddersfield), Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion), Mo Elneny (Arsenal), and of course the poster boy Mohamed Salah.
Hailed as the hero in Egypt in all aspects of football and life, the Liverpool man will be key for the Pharaoh’s success or failure in the tournament. Salah has been a phenomenon at Anfield, scoring 54 league goals in two seasons and picking up two golden boots, as well as reaching consecutive Champions League finals.
Although they failed in the World Cup, crashing out in a group featuring hosts Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay, they always succeed on home turf and Cairo is a fortress of African international football.
A man to watch out for at the tournament is veteran midfielder Abdellah Al-Said, who in his later years has blossomed in the white of his national team. Having scored frequently in his early years with Ismaily and Al-Ahly, he has settled with local side Pyramids FC from the centre of Cairo. He’s still bagged three in the 2019 season from 19 matches.
The aforementioned odds of 11/2 place Egypt favourites for the tournament, ahead of Sadio’s Senegal at 7/1 and Ghana at 8/1.
With an experienced coach in Javier Aguirre in charge Egypt should be confident of going far in their home tournament, with the Mexican listing a Gold Cup with his home country among his honours as a boss in 2009.
My prediction is that his side will reach the final, but lose out due to home-field pressure. Good luck Pharaohs!