Friday Nov 08, 2019. 10:00
Egypt warmed up for their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers this month with a narrow 1-0 victory over Liberia in Alexandria as the home-based players in their squad were put through their paces.
It is a second successive 1-0 win for new coach Hossam El-Badry after the side defeated Botswana last month, but the performance has drawn criticism from many quarters.
It took 85 minutes for The Pharaohs to break the deadlock as substitute Hamdy Fathy converted a cross by Mohamed Hany, which came shortly after Sam Jackson had spurned a glorious chance for the visitors.
The home side were also dealt a blow in the first half when Hussain El-Shafat was forced off through what looked like a serious injury, putting him in doubt for the qualifiers coming up against Kenya and Comoros.
“We’re preparing for the official encounters in a very difficult situation, as all league games have been postponed. Al Ahly, for example, haven’t played a game in almost one month,” El Badry said.
“Other teams haven’t played in a while, which showed in the different fitness levels between both sides.
“The drop in the fitness level affected our performance and caused the drop in form especially in the second-half. Our performance in the first-half was quite convincing but the level dropped in the second-half.
“I want to thank the EFA for organising this friendly. It was a necessary game as we have many objectives. We wanted to make sure that all players who haven’t played with their sides in a while to participate, while also looking to include new members to the squad.”
But not everyone was pleased with the win. Former Egypt national tam striker Mido, who was in line for the coaching job following the Nations Cup in June/July, took to social media to vent his disapproval.
“The Egyptian national team is very bad honestly,” he said. “There are some players who shouldn’t have the honour of representing the national team, not even on a trial level.”
Egypt play Kenya at the start of the qualifiers on November 14, before an away trip to Comoros four days later.