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U-23 AFCON: Tricky mission as hosts Egypt face Ghana

By Vincent Ashitey
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It might be the first time they lock horns in the history of the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, but Egypt and Ghana have a very long rivalry on all levels of African football.

Hosts Egypt lock horns with Ghana’s Black Meteors as the ongoing 2019 U-23 Afcon Group A enters its day 2 this Monday (November 11). The Olympic Pharaohs kicked off their campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Mali, while Ghana needed a late goal to come from behind and hold Cameroon to a 1-1 draw on Friday.

Both sides will look for a win that gets them closer to a place in the semifinals, with one of the three tickets to represent Africa in next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games at stake.

The Olympic Pharaohs will once again look for the brilliance of their attacking duet of skipper Ramadan Sobhy and first match-winner Mostafa Mohamed. Coach Shawky Gharib’s side had to do it while suffering a drastic situation. Defender Mahmoud Marei and winger Taher Mohamed were ruled off for injury a few hours before the opening game, which itself witnessed another injury to midfielder Nasser Maher who is ruled out for the rest of the tournament with shoulder dislocation.

READ ALSO:  U-23 AFCON: Hosts Egypt beat Mali in opener 

On the other hand, Ghana’s Black Meteors will need a much-improved appearance than that they had against Cameroon. Coach Ibrahim Tanko side rarely threatened their opponents, yet managed to come back from behind to salvage a point when Habib Mohamed scored three minutes from time.

Match info
Group A
Monday 11 November 2019
Ghana v Egypt – Cairo International Stadium (18:00 GMT)

What they said
Ibrahim Tanko (Coach, Ghana)
Facing the hosts comes with pressure but we can manage that. Egypt has many good players and I watched some games for them. Our target is a place in the Olympics so we need to win every game.

Evans Mensah (Midfielder, Ghana)
We have great ambition and that’s to play in the Olympics. We respect Egypt and we know it is a tough game but we will give our best.

Shawky Gharib (Coach, Egypt)
It’s a very important game for us. We take each game at a time and now it’s Ghana who are a very good team with good players. We suffered numerous injuries before and into the tournament and this is unfavorable for us, but we trust those who are with the team now.

Mostafa Mohamed (Forward, Egypt)
We studied Ghana well and this game is our key to the semifinal. We respect Ghana but our target is the maximum points. Mali game was tough but thank God we won. We have to keep focused till we achieve our target which is nothing but the title and Olympics ticket.

Source: cafonline