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Manager Shawky Gharib gives his thoughts on Egypt’s win over Botswana
Gharib had been under fire following two terrible performances and losses at the start of Egypt’s qualifying campaign, but now with two fine wins in a row, things are looking brighter for Gharib and his team.
“Taking these six points from two matches have accomplished the difficult equation of wanting to win on the one hand and having a new generation of players enter the team on the other hand.
“With the league now running, things became easier for us.”
Asked why he did not play with two forwards to kill the game early, he simply replied: “The system with which I played is the one I consider to be the reason behind our victory.”
“The way we possessed the ball and moved it around made me not anxious between the two halves. I told the players the same thing I told them in the away leg: that Botswana closes down spaces in the first-half, but in the second-half they tire.
“I thought it was normal to field the same line-up as in the last game. Some in the coaching staff called for some changes but I told them let’s keep it this way until the 2nd half. Botswana’s fitness and concentration will drop and we can take advantage of the spaces then.
“If we had conceded in the first-half, then the difficulty would be that you’re not trying to win but trying to chase the game.”
Gharib also thanked the fans and said he has lots of positives to take from today, including “boosting players’ confidence” and “playing in Cairo Stadium again with fans.”
Asked how he sees the upcoming game against Senegal, he said that who wants to qualify has to win. “If I don’t win, I won’t qualify.”
On his part, Botswana’s manager Peter Butler said he’s a professional coach who is always looking to win and that’s what he’ll try to do against Tunisia and Senegal. “In truth,” he added, “I also sympathize with the Egyptian national team, and I want to and will try to help them as they deserve to qualify!”