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Cúper: Egyptian players are talented and well-organized

Hector Cuper
Egypt’s manager praised the Egyptian team after they claimed a 2-0 win over visiting on Thursday in their first match under his leadership.

The team got off to a promising start under Héctor Cúper, as goals from and  saw them down Equatorial Guinea 2-0 in Cairo on Thursday.

The game that was played at the Petro Sport Stadium was part of Egypt’s preparations for the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers. It was Cúper’s first test as Egypt manager, who took over the leadership of the team earlier this month.

The Argentinian coach was full of praise for his players, and declared that one of the most important benefits of the game was assessing the defensive tactics of the team.

“Egyptian players are talented and well-organized, they are also able to respond well to the management’s directives,” said Cúper, hailing the Egyptian team during his post-match press conference after his team’s friendly victory.

“Winning is really important regardless of whether it was in a friendly or a competitive game, but what’s more crucial is seeing how the players respond to my directives on the pitch,” added Cúper.

Cúper refused to choose a specific player as the star of the match saying, “the whole team is the star.”

Fiorentina star said, “It’s a promising start for the Egyptian team under the leadership of Cúper.”

He added that the players are optimistic and determined to restore the team to its former glory.

First impressions

Egypt international left-back Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, who plays for Al-Ahli Jeddah, didn’t join the Pharaohs although he was called up to the squad, while Zamalek midfielder Ayman Hefny left the training camp after claiming injury. Both players, however, took part in their teams’ games on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

“I am still getting to know the players and I don’t want my first impression of any player to be that he prefers to be with his team rather than with the Egyptian national team,” the Egypt coach said.

He added that any player who sees the national team as less important than his local team should leave and focus with his team.

“But I don’t assume that they are evading the national team,” the 59-year-old said.

Abdel-Shafy apologized for Cúper on Thursday asserting that it is an honour to join the Egyptian national team.

Zamalek goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shenawy said that he left the Pharaohs training camp due to injury after coordinating with the team’s administration.

“How can I evade national team duty when it is an honour to be part of it?” El-Shenawy exclaimed.

Cúper concluded that the resumption of the national league will be for the benefit of everyone.

“To increase the competition and widen our selection choices, it will be really important to resume the league,” said Cúper.

The Egyptian Premier League is set to resume on March 30 after a two-month hiatus brought on by the Air Defence Stadium tragedy.

Editor-in-Chief at Pursuing a master's degree in sport policy, management and international development at the University of Edinburgh.

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