Thursday,21 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1338, (30 March - 5 April 2017)
Thursday,21 February, 2019
Issue 1338, (30 March - 5 April 2017)

Ahram Weekly

First game for locals

Egypt defeated Benin in preparation for its first African Nations Championship, not to be confused with the much more famous Africa Cup of Nations

After years of ignoring the idea of creating an Egyptian national football team just for locally-based players, such a team was finally created and played its first ever game against Benin in Cairo on Monday, winning 2-0.

 Our national side, managed by former Egyptian superstar Hani Ramzi, faced the fellow African side in a friendly in preparation for its first ever African Nations Championship (CHAN) for local players in 2018, not to be confused with the much more famous Africa Cup of Nations.

The goals came through Enppi star striker Amr Marei in the 33rd minute as he slotted home in an empty net after a pass from Nasser Mohamed with the second goal coming in the 56th minute when Mahmoud Metwai finished emphatically from the edge of the box with a first time shot after a cross from the left hand side.

The Egyptian side also missed a penalty when former Zamalek star Khaled Amar failed to beat the goalkeeper who also managed to make seven other saves throughout the game.

The game was one sided from the very first minute till the last second as Ramzi’s team could have easily scored six or seven goals over and above the two scored and the stats clearly shows it. The Egyptian side had 18 attempts on goal while the opponents had five. Egypt attempted 537 passes with an 87% strike rate while Benin attempted 150 passes with a strike rate 63%. Egypt won nine corners while Benin had none.

Ramzi will surely be happy with the performance of his men in their first game together especially that he played the game without players from Ahly, Zamalek and Semouha for various reasons.

This national team will have plenty of time to get ready for next year’s CHAN as Ramzi will be hoping to win the title at the first attempt after Egypt refused to take part in the first three editions with the first of them going back to 2009.

Ramzi expressed satisfaction with the performance after the game and promised to get this team to its best shape by June. “It was very important to win our first game and it was very pleasing for me to be able to give playing time to all the players I called up but I wasn’t very pleased with the huge amount of chances missed especially in the first half.

“The second half wasn’t as good as the first as the substitutions cooled down the game a bit because most of the players that came on were somehow anxious and nervous by the idea of representing Egypt especially Mohamed Hassan and Mohamed Antar who play in the second division.

“In general, I was pleased with what I saw as the players only had three days to train together. I called up many players to give them the chance to impress but my team will be up and running by July after the friendly against Algeria and a friendly tournament in Thailand. By the end of the tournament I’ll have an almost full picture about who’s going to be with me next year in CHAN.”

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