Egypt will be facing a stiff test against Uganda in the African Cup of Nations, according to head coach Javier Aguirre, who defended his goalkeeping assistant Ahmed Nagy after the recent injury of third-choice keeper Mahmoud Gennesh.
Egypt, the record seven-time African champions, will be hosting the Ugandan team on Sunday at Cairo Stadium in the final round of the prestigious tournament’s group stage.
“We have entered a difficult stage in the tournament. The team didn’t deliver its best in the first two matches against Zimbabwe and DR Congo,” Aguirre said in the pre-match press conference on Saturday.
“We achieved a very important thing; winning six points from the two matches and ensuring qualifying for next round while keeping a clean sheet, and that is a good thing,” the Mexican added.
Egypt defeated Zimbabwe 1-0 in the opening match before beating DR Congo 2-0 in the second test.
Egypt, who top Group A with a maximum six points from two matches, need just a draw against Uganda (second with four points) to ensure their progress as the group leaders.
“Uganda is a strong and well organised team who play with a fighting spirit through the whole 90 minutes. I think it will be a stiff confrontation,” the Egypt coach explained.
“We will be making just one or two changes in our line-up against Uganda.
“I don’t think about our opponent in round of 16 as our main concentration is to beat Uganda and then we will study the next rival.”
A win for Gennesh
Egypt’s team was dealt a blow on Friday after third-choice keeper Mahmoud Gennesh was ruled out of the African Cup after injuring his Achilles tendon during a training session.
“We are all sad for Gennesh. The injury will be a good boost for his teammates to win and dedicate the victory to him,” said Aguirre.
“Goalkeeping coach Ahmed Nagy isn’t responsible for the injury. It is an exceptional incident than can happen anywhere and is not related to training sessions. I wish him a speedy recovery,” he concluded.
With Javier Aguirre at the helm, the Pharaohs are optimistic about winning the precious title of AFCON champions for the first time since 2010, the last of their record seven victories.