2010 African Cup Of Nations Group C Preview : Egypt Aim For an Unprecedented Third Consecutive Title
By Damien Johnson
Published January 06, 2010
Egypt The Pharaohs
Path to Angola
Group C, runner-up The Egyptians started off their campaign with a surprise draw against Zambia in Cairo, in their next match they were drubbed 3-1 by rivals Algeria in Blida.
The Pharaohs managed to climb back in to World Cup connection by scoring four straight victories and forcing a playoff against Algeria.Thanks to a thunder strike from Antar Yahia the Algerians defeated Egypt booking their place in the World Cup sending the Pharaohs home with extreme disappointment.
Coach: Hassan Shehata has been the Pharaohs coach since 2004 and has won two Nations Cup titles. Like the Ivorian coach Vahid Halilhodi?, Shehata runs a tight ship and will not stand for indiscipline from any of his players.
Star player: Mohamed Zidan (Dortmund) the striker had an excellent tournament in the 2008 edition and the pressure will be on Zidan, in the absence of star midfielder Mohamed Aboutrika and fellow striker Amir Zaki to perform well again.
Outlook: The Pharaohs are surely still disappointed from narrowly missing out on the World Cup but will look to shake of their regret in Angola by winning and unprecedented third straight Nations Cup title.
Like other teams in this tournament the core of their players are aging and this rendition may provide one last opportunity to make an impact on the international stage. Now that World Cup qualification is out of the picture there would be no greater pinnacle for these players than to lift the Nations Cup trophy again.
Egypt has called up a largely locally-based squad but will be without mainstays Mohamed Aboutrika and Amr Zaki who are ruled out due to injury. Mido was expected to make the final roster but reportedly looked out of shape in a pre-tournament friendly against Malawi and was subsequently axed from the squad.
Defenders: Wael Gomaa, Sayed Moawad, Ahmed Fathi (Ahli), Mahmoud Fathallah, Hani Saied, Mohamed Abdul-Shafi (Zamalek), Moatassem Salem (Ismaili), Ahmed Al-Muhammadi (ENPPI), Abdul-Zaher Al-Saqqa (Eskisehirspor, Turkey).
Midfielders: Ahmed Hassan (Ahli), Shikabala (Zamalek), Abdul-Aziz Tawfik (ENPPI), Ahmed Eid (Harras Hodoud), Hosni Abd-Rabou (Ahli, UAE), Hossam Ghaly (Nassr, Saudi Arabia).
Strikers: Emad Meteb (Ahli), Ahmed Raouf (ENPPI), Al-Sayed Hamdi (Petrojet), Geddo (Ittihad), Mohamed Zidan (Dortmund, Germany).
Path to Angola
Group B, Winners; Nigeria and the Ivory Coast were the only teams to go through both rounds of qualifying without suffering a defeat. Unlike their counterparts Nigeria failed to impress earning three wins and three draws and needed help in the last game to seal a spot at the World Cup. A Super Eagles victory of Kenya in Nairobi couple with Mozambique's defeat of Tunisia saw Nigeria through to the World Cup.
Coach: Shaibu Amodu is in his third spell as coach of the Super Eagles. The much maligned manager who despite his impressive 9 wins and three draws, zero losses record during qualification has been heavily criticized by sections of fans and media for his teams' deemed disjointed performances.
Although Amodu has qualified Nigeria for the World Cup for the second time as coach his contract is up after the tournament and will likely need to meet the semi-finals mandate set forth by the Nigerian Football Association to lead the Super Eagles to South Africa.
Star player: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England) despite the great deal of big named veterans around him he has been a mainstay in the Chelsea midfield over the past two seasons.
The tenacious midfielder showed a great deal of grit and determination leading the Super Eagles to victory over the Kenyans in Nairobi. His loyalty to the national team has been questioned at times by Super Eagles supporters but an impressive performance in Angola should silence the remaining doubters.
Outlook: The Super Eagles will look to bounce back from a displeasing performance on the African grand stage in 2008. They struggled to qualify from the group stages and were knocked out in the quarterfinals by rival, hosts, Ghana.
The rabid Super Eagles supporters are eager for the team to return to the glory days of the nineties and will settle for nothing less than gold in Angola.
Amodu has called up a team comprised of entirely foreign-based players and chose to stick with the core of players who managed their way through the entire qualifying campaign without a defeat. Wolfsburg's Obafemi Martins who has been nursing a shin injury passed a late fitness test and makes the squad Hoffenheim striker Chinedu Obasi was a late addition after impressing in training at the expense of Esperance striker Michael Eneramo.
There are also places for the injury recovering defenders Yusuf Mohammed, Danny Shittu and Joseph Yobo.
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel) Bamidele Aiyenugba (Bnei Yehuda, Israel) Austin Ejide (unattached)
Defenders: Joseph Yobo (Everton, England), Danny Shittu (Bolton, England), Obinna Nwaneri , Yusuf Mohammed (both FC Sion, Switzerland), Taye Taiwo (Marseille, France) Elderson Echiejile (Rennes, France), Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Onyekachi Apam (Nice, France).
Midfielders: Nwankwo Kanu (Portsmouth, England), John Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England), Dickson Etuhu (Fulham, England) Sani Kaita (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia) Yusuf Atanda Ayila (Dynamo Kiev, Ukraine), Oluwaseyi George Olofinjana (Hull City, England), Kalu Uche (Almeria, Spain).
Group B, Third place; The Black Mambas defeated Tunisia and Kenya at home and earned a draw with Nigeria; they were defeat in their three road games.
Coach: Mart Nooij took over the job in early 2009 and has been credited by the Mozambicans for the team's brilliant turnaround and renewed confidence; culminating with a dominating performance in their defeat of the Tunisians which ultimately cost Tunisian a place in South Africa. Nooji has had stints with the Dutch FA and Burkina Faso's U-20 team.
Star player: Dominguês (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa) the skillful diminutive right-winger is a terror down the flanks with a knack for scoring goals.
Outlook: Nooij's men run like a well oiled machine, they are very organized and disciplined and will give fits to opposing midfielders and attackers. The Black Mambas gave Nigeria and Tunisia all they could handle in the third round of qualifiers and will certainly have a score to settle with the Nigeria after the Nigerians held them to a controversial draw in Maputo and suffered a heartbreaking defeat to the Super Eagles in Abuja when Nigeria's Victor Obinna Nsofor scored a winner in stoppage time.
Mozambique are not as dangerous as danger away from the comforts of Estádio da Machava, their lack of firepower upfront may have cost them a place in the World cup and will likely cost them again in Angola.
Veteran Tico-Tico, 36, will give it one last run in Angola, he will be joined upfront by long-time strike partner Monteiro.
Goalkeepers: Bino (Liga Muculmana), Kampango (Tersana, Egypt), Lama (Liga Muculmana)
Midfielders: Danito Parraque (Ferroviario Maputo), Dominques (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Genito (Nea Salamina, Cyprus), Goncalves Fumo (Olympiakos, Cyprus), Josimar (Costa dol Sol), Momed Hagy (Ferroviario Maputo), Nelinho (Desportivo Maputo), Ze Luis (Baladeyet Al Mahalla, Egypt)
Forwards: Helder Pelembe (Maxaquene), Dario Monteiro (SuperSport United, South Africa), Tico-Tico (Jomo Cosmos, South Africa)
Benin Les Écureuils (The Squirrels)
Path to Angola
Group D , Runner-up; Benin finished second behind Ghana in Group D on ten points, with two victories over Sudan, a surprise home win over Ghana, and a home draw with Mali.
Coach: Michel Dussuyer the Frenchman has been in charge of the Squirrels since June 2008; he was previously the manager of the Guinean national team and was an assistant with The Elephants of the Ivory Coast at the 2006 Nations Cup.
Star player: Stéphane Sessegnon (Paris Saint-Germain, France) the midfielder was targeted by many of the top clubs in Europe before renewing his deal with PSG. He is a versatile midfielder but is primarily used as a playmaker, In Angola he will need to set up the likes of Razak Omotoyossi and Mohamed Aoudou with goal scoring opportunities for Benin to progress from the Group Stage.
Outlook: Benin will be competing in their third Nations Cup, second successive; they will aim to reach the knockout stages for the first time. Benin have been underestimated by their opponents in the past and will hope to surprise their group C opponents.
They are a side that is not lacking in self-confidence but will need a victory over Mozambique in their first match to have any realistic hopes of progressing to the quarterfinals. The French-born Grenoble young midfielder Jonathan Tinhan turned down a call up for 'personal reasons.'