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Cúper to welcome ‘new faces’ in Egyptian national team
The Argentinian boss held his first press conference as the Egyptian national team head coach earlier this month as the team are preparing to head to Morocco on the 23rd of March to face Equatorial Guinea in a friendly on the 26th. Cúper previously admitted that he knows little about Egyptian football, but he said: “the offside rule works the same in Africa or Europe or South America. The task is the same: score and don’t concede.”
The Egyptian Premier League was suspended after Egypt’s worst-ever football tragedy that left over 70 Al Ahly fans dead in Port Said in 2012. Three years later, at least 20 Zamalek fans were killed when the Whites faced ENPPI in the first round that fans were allowed to enter stadiums since the Port Said tragedy. This led to another stoppage in Egyptian football, until Egypt’s cabinet have decided to resume the Premier League on the 30th of March.
Cúper led the Pharaohs in their first training session on Friday morning, with the large squad he selected to face Equatorial Guinea later this month. The Argentinian boss commented on his new squad afterwards: “I still don’t know much about the players I selected in the squad but I’m following and watching them, and the national team’s door is still open for any new faces.”
In addition to his comment, he also discussed the opportunity to be given to stand-out Egyptian players when the league resumes: “I’m waiting for the league’s resumption to watch all players, and you will probably see some players who will be selected for the first time.”
Cúper is tasked to qualify the Pharaohs to the Africa Cup of Nations, which Shawky Gharib failed to do before his dismissal. “My preferred strategies will be 4-3-3 and 4-5-1. I can’t promise to win any titles but I can promise to do my best to build a team that can compete for trophies,” he added.
The former Valencia and Inter Milan boss has three months to be prepared for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that will start in June 2015, followed by Russia’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers that will start in October.