Egypt favourites for AFCON title, but are beatable, says Uganda coach
The Pharaohs were placed in group A alongside DR Congo, Zimbabwe, and Uganda, with the top two teams of each group, along with the best four third-placed teams, advance to the round of 16.
Egypt’s opening game will be against Zimbabwe on June 21, before facing DR Congo five days later, and on June 30 they will play their final group game against the Cranes.
It will not be the first recent encounter between Egypt and Uganda as they were drawn against each other in the 2017 AFCON group-stages as well as the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Despite not being in charge of the Cranes then, Desabre believes that these matches have given them enough experiences ahead of the June 30 rematch.
“Senegal, Nigeria and Morocco are really the favourites, but Egypt are, too, because they’re hosting the tournament. These four teams should go far,” Desabre told ESPN.
“We’re in Egypt’s group, and they’re a team we know well. Personally, I know them very well as I worked in Egypt [five months with club side Ismaily SC], and we’ve played against them several times.
“When we play against Egypt, the boys know that it’s possible [to get a result]. [We’ve] beaten them in World Cup qualification [a 1-0 victory in Kampala in August 2017], at the last Afcon they only scored in the 89th minute.
“It’s very difficult, and they’re favourites, but it’s not too bad to play against them either.
“Egypt are strong individually, and maybe as a group they’re a little less strong than in previous years, but they’ll be pushed by their supporters.
“We know, at home, how important it is to have fans behind you.”
Egypt’s one to watch will be of course Mohamed Salah and Desabre knows the problems that the winger can cause to his side, however, he believes that his team are capable of handling the Liverpool man.
“Of course I saw [Salah’s goal]. We must put in place a unified approach to try to at least reduce his time with the ball,” Desabre added.
“Talent remains talent, but instead of him touching the ball, we must put something in place to ensure that he sees less of it.
“We know that players [like Salah] are talented, and that they can make the difference at any moment. That’s just how it is.
“Egypt are lucky to have this kind of player, the type that we don’t have, but we have a collective, and we’ll put in place a style to reduce Salah’s danger.
“We have no stars in our team, but our strength is our togetherness, and our aggression on the field. We have the capacity to have a team which is very solid, with great cohesion, and I know that, come the Afcon, my players will be at 150 percent.
“We’ll be hard to play against, even if we’ve fallen into a group where we’re not the most talented in terms of individuals; in terms of the collective, we know how to respond.”
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