Egypt looks for three in a row at African Cup of Nations
|Sunday, January 31,2010 17:55|
Their is excitement in the air, previous matches being shown on local television screens and smiles on faces Sunday, as Egyptians prepare to watch their national team take on Ghana in the African Cup of Nations final in Angola. A victory would secure the Pharaohs a third straight title and give more credence to fans arguments that Egypt is a force to be reckon with, despite their unceremonious ousting from the World Cup last November.
“We believe we are the best team in Africa and that the World Cup loss was not the normal thing for our team,” said Abdel Rahman Gama’a on Sunday morning as he pointed to the highlights showing on a morning sports channel. “Egypt is the best and we hope to show it tonight against Ghana.”
It will be another test for the national team, who pummeled Algeria 4-0 in the semifinals to reach the final. Egypt hasn’t lost in the African Cup since 2004 and hopes to add another title to its already record 6 trophies.
Ghana, which beat Nigeria to reach the final, is looking to put a damper on Egypt’s title hopes. The Black Stars are one of Africa’s top teams, having reached the knockout stages of the last World Cup in Germany, and want to add an African championship to their resume ahead of next summer’s World Cup in South Africa.
But, Egyptian captain Ahmed Hassan hopes things will turn out differently. Speaking ahead of Sunday’s match, he told reporters Egypt will give Ghana more of what has propelled Egypt to the final.
“Against Ghana we will continue to play as we have started. We don’t care how they play, we are here to defend our title, and we’ll do everything to succeed.
“Our 4-0 win over Algeria has proved we are the best team in Africa, without argument.”
For his part, Ghana coach Milovan Rajevic is confident his team will continue to hold their own despite Egypt’s success this year.
“I’m not concerned about playing beautiful game, but playing for results. It is the result that counts not possession.
“We came here to compete and not to play entertaining football. The most important thing is the result and not possession. This we hope to do against Egypt,” Rajevic added.
For the Egyptians already waving flags on car doors and looking forward to the match it will be, in many ways, a litmus test for the future.
“There are a lot of young players who have come out and shown they can play on the big stage, but getting a title is all that matters. We need this for the future,” added Rawya Gamal, an accountant in Cairo and avid football fan.