Wednesday,13 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1285, (3 - 9 March 2016)
Wednesday,13 December, 2017
Issue 1285, (3 - 9 March 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Friendly but serious

Egypt defeated Burkina Faso in a warm-up as the Pharaohs prepare for two crucial African qualifying matches against Nigeria, reports Abeer Anwar

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Egypt’s national football team beat Burkina Faso 2-0 in their friendly at Alexandria’s Borg Al-Arab Stadium on Saturday in their last warm-up game before their upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifying clash against Nigeria this month.

Abdullah Al-Said’s two goals, one in each half, gave Egypt their second friendly win in a row following a 2-0 victory over Libya last month.

Egypt also played their second friendly without their overseas players who were not called up for the contender, including Mohamed Salah of AS Roma and Al-Nenni of Arsenal.

Egypt, who haven’t reached the Africa Cup of Nations since last winning the title in 2010, travel to Nigeria on 23 March before hosting the West Africans two days later. The return leg in Egypt will be on 29 March.

The Pharaohs are currently top of their Group G on six points, two ahead of rivals Nigeria who lie second.

Argentine Hector Cuper, Egypt’s manager, made three half-time changes, introducing Nour Al-Sayed, Hamada Tolba and Amr Gamal for Hossam Ghali, Sabri Rahil and striker Marwan Mohsen but the changes did not enhance Egypt’s attack.

Burkina Faso’s best ever finish in the ACN tournament was the 2013 edition, reaching the final where they lost to Nigeria.

Meantime, a few hours after coach Sunday Oliseh quit his job as Nigeria’s manager, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) named Samson Siasia, Emmanuel Amuneke and Alloy Agu as head coaches of the senior national team for the upcoming 2017 ACN qualifier against Egypt.

The 48-year-old Siasia, a former Nigeria striker, served as the Super Eagles coach in 2011 but failed to book a place in the 2012 ACN before the NFF terminated his contract. Amuneke led the U-17 Nigeria national team in the World Cup in Chile last year while Agu was one of Oliseh’s technical staff.

“The new crew has the mandate to reach out to the very best Nigerian players anywhere,” Chris Green, chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, told the press. “The matches against Egypt would not be picnics and we need our very best for those contests,” he added.

Oliseh quit his post less than one month ahead of the ACN home qualifying clash with Egypt on 25 March. He says contract violations, lack of support, unpaid wages, benefits to players and assistant coaches were the reasons behind his surprise decision.

In response, the NFF said on their official website that Oliseh was paid this week the sum of N20 million, which were salaries for three months – December 2015, January 2016 and February 2016 – and a half-year rent for July-December 2015. He signed on in July 2015.

“The only money he is owed is the bonus for the World Cup qualifier against Swaziland in Port Harcourt in November 2015 which the NFF had promised to pay players and officials on resumption of camping for the matches against Egypt,” the NFF website added in a statement.

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