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Pharaohs begin preparation for AFCON qualifiers

Egypt national team

Fresh off of a four-day training camp comprising a locally-based contingent, began revealing plans for its 2017 Africa Cup of Nations () qualifying campaign on Monday.

The announcements included manager Hector Cuper’s decision to set Saturday, June 13 as the date for the team’s opening qualifier at home against Tanzania.

“[Cuper] picked June 13 as the date for our first match against Tanzania, but no venue has been set yet,” according to the Egyptian Football Association’s (EFA) Alaa Abdel-Aziz.

Host nations for the first matchday of qualifying can choose between June 12, 13, and 14 to stage its matches.

Along with Tanzania, the Pharaohs were also paired with Chad and AFCON 2013 champions Nigeria in last week’s group draw.

The team decided to camp every month leading up to the start of qualifiers at the behest of its new manager.

“[Cuper] asked the EFA to hold a camp every month to get to know the players more, and we accepted this idea,” Abdel-Aziz said.

Abdel-Aziz also announced that Egypt would camp twice more before qualifiers kick off.

“We will have another camp in May with a friendly match. The last camp will be on June 8, followed by the match [against Tanzania].”

Egypt beat AFCON 2015 semi-finalist Equatorial Guinea 2-0 in a friendly last month, Cuper’s first match in charge of the Pharaohs.

The seven-time AFCON champions are looking to end what would be a seven-year drought from African football’s showpiece event.

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