Friday,20 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1141, 28 March - 3 April 2013
Friday,20 July, 2018
Issue 1141, 28 March - 3 April 2013

Ahram Weekly

Soccer on the side: Young Pharaohs hit of Africa U-20

Seal place in youth World Cup, reports Marwan Zayed

Al-Ahram Weekly

Former Egyptian legend and now coach Rabea Yassin led the Egyptian U-20 national team to the youth World Cup next year and the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations after collecting the maximum number of points from three games in the group stage.
The young team which is captained by the soon-to-be fans favourite, Ahli player Rami Rabea, started their hunt for a place in next year’s World Cup against African giants Ghana. The game ended in a hard fought 2-1 win for the Egyptians.
The Pharaohs took the lead in the 67th minute through the substitute Mahmoud Hamad with a magnificent header from Ahmed Samir’s excellent cross from a free kick. Egypt looked destined for victory as they finally got the goal they deserved after attacking the Ghanaians wildly in the second half but the youngest player in the tournament scored the equaliser for Ghana ten minutes later. A series of errors from the Egyptian defence allowed the 14-year-old (yes you read it right) Ebenezer Assifouh to score from close range to level the score. The Egyptians’ spirits dropped a little after the Ghanaian goal but another Egyptian substitute in the form of Mahmoud Abdel-Meneim, or “Kahraba” (Electricity) came on to make the difference as he won a penalty out of the blue for his team in the 87th minute. The brilliant Saleh Gomaa sent the keeper the wrong way to win the match for the Egyptians who were up against the hosts Algeria in the following game.
The Algerians drew the first game against minnows Benin much to the frustration of their fans which made them more determined than ever to beat the Egyptians. On the other hand, the Egyptian national team was even more determined as they wanted to seal a place in next year’s U-20 World Cup in addition to qualifying for the group stage at the expense of the Algerians who denied our nation a place in the senior World Cup two years ago.
The game in Algeria ended in a 1-0 win for the Pharaohs via Rabea’s header that came in the first half after a brilliant cross from the left flank. The only goal of the game sealed a place in the knockout stages for the Egyptians but more importantly a place in the youth World Cup next year for Yassin’s young side.
The Egyptians’ final game of the group stage came against an above average Benin side that drew with Algeria in the first game and lost the second against Ghana by a single goal. Yassin decided to make several changes to his team after sealing qualification to give some players a chance to rest. However, the second fiddle team were up for the fight and managed to defeat Benin by a single goal that came through Kahraba who took the penalty against Algeria.
The third win from three games made sure the Egyptians will go into the knockout stages in high spirits. Captain of the team Rabea vowed to make sure alongside his teammates that “they’ll give 200 per cent” against a very strong Nigerian side who will be their next and most difficult opponents. No doubt the U-20 Nigerian team will do their best to emulate the past success of their senior team so the Egyptian national team will have to be ready for the fight.
Leaving the U-20 team and moving to the senior squad, Bob Bradley’s side managed to demolish Swaziland in their friendly game which ended in an astonishing 10-0 win for the Egyptians as they played their final preparations for the all important game against Zimbabwe in the World Cup qualifiers.
The encounter with Swaziland wasn’t really the kind of preparation needed against Zimbabwe but the team can consider it a very good and competitive training session according to captain on the day Ahmed Eid Abdel-Malek. Bob Bradley will have nearly a full squad to choose from apart from Rabea who’s away with the youngsters in Algeria. Our Egyptian overseas stars Ahmed Al-Mohamadi, Gedo, Ahmed Fathi, and Mohamed Salah will certainly start the game as Bradley will do his very best to collect all three points.

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