Wednesday,18 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1274, (10 - 16 December 2015)
Wednesday,18 July, 2018
Issue 1274, (10 - 16 December 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Flight to Rio cancelled

The Olympic team lost a golden chance to qualify to the Olympics after losing 1-0 to Mali, reports Abeer Anwar

Al-Ahram Weekly

Egypt was sent packing after a 1-0 loss to Mali in M’Bour In Senegal, ending their hopes of going to next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Mali, out of contention after defeats in their previous two games, bowed out on a high note with victory on Saturday thanks to a Ragab Abdel-Nabi own goal that saw them exit together with Egypt, who needed a win to keep alive their hopes.

Algeria and Nigeria booked their places at the semis after a barren draw in Dakar. Algeria and Nigeria finished on five points apiece, Mali on three and Egypt with two points. Algeria, who finished winners of Group B, will face South Africa in the semis while Nigeria battles host Senegal.

Egypt reached the quarter finals at the 2012 London Games after qualifying for the Olympics for the first time since 1992 but they will not be present in Rio de Janeiro next year after a Nations Cup campaign to forget.

Cafonline reports that the Pharaohs of Egypt were stunned by ‘Les Aiglons’ of Mali, who put up their best display at the tournament so far despite having no chance of qualification. The keenly contested clash saw possession swing from one side to their other with Egypt failing to convert the chances that came their way into goals.

It was not only the loss that astonished Egyptian football fans. The question now is how the Egyptian Football Federation will react after the huge amount of money spent in preparing the Olympic team.

Egypt’s head coach Hossam Al-Badri and his players failed to live up to expectations. Although the team had a number of golden chances to secure a victory all their attacks were futile. The own goal, headed in the 18th minute, and which came from a needless corner, shook them early and they never fully recovered.

“Throughout the game we showed a lot of determination,” Al-Badri said after the loss. “We conceded, and we did our best to come back. Unfortunately we lost. Every competition has its reality. It was a very high level game. I’m not satisfied with the performance of my players; they could have done better. It is a shared responsibility and it is regrettable. The players did their best, but lacked experience and we cannot put the blame at their doorstep. This is life. We will continue from here and prepare for the future.”

That’s if, of course, Al-Badri still has a future with the team.

“There are always regrets after every competition,” Mali’s assistant coach Issa Kolon Coulibaly said. “It was good for us to end on a winning note. We will go back and prepare for the challenges ahead. It has been a worthwhile experience.”

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