Egypt head coach Javier Aguirre
Monday Mar 25, 2019. 12:00
Egypt coach Javier Aguirre has defended the experimental line-up he fielded in their final 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier this past weekend.
The Pharaohs played to a 1-1 draw away to Niger on Saturday afternoon, with Aguirre sending out a team which featured no less than five debutants.
Ahmed Mansour, Nabil Dunga and Amar Hamdi all started, while Abdelrahman Magdi and Mostafa Mohamed appeared as second-half substitutes.
The match in Niamey saw Mahmoud Trezeguet hand Egypt the lead early in the second half, but an 81st-minute equaliser by Amadou Moutari ensured the spoils were shared.
The result had no effect on Egypt’s final standings in the qualifying group, as they were going to finish second behind fellow North African heavyweights Tunisia regardless.
With this in mind, Aguirre argues that testing out new players and combinations was more important than the result, as they prepare to be the host team for the AFCON later this year.
“We wanted to win, of course, although the result wouldn’t have any effect,” Aguirre said after the game.
“I wanted to try new players, that was the most important thing. Experimenting with new players by giving them the opportunity in this game, which was played in very difficult weather conditions, was very important.”
Egypt will be back in action tomorrow evening when they face Nigeria in a friendly in Asaba.