Strong clubs key for Egypt

OUTSIDER; Egypt captain Ahmed Hassan plays for Anderlecht in Belgium. Pic. Lee Warren. 10/02/08. © Gallo Images.
OUTSIDER; Egypt captain Ahmed Hassan plays for Anderlecht in Belgium. Pic. Lee Warren. 10/02/08. © Gallo Images.

ACCRA - The strength of club football in Egypt was the key to their Africa Cup of Nations triumph in a one-sided final against Cameroon.

ACCRA - The strength of club football in Egypt was the key to their Africa Cup of Nations triumph in a one-sided final against Cameroon.

Only two players based abroad started Sunday's 1-0 win at the Ohene Djan stadium, with defender Wael Gomaa playing for Al Siliya of Qatar and captain Ahmed Hassan playing for Belgian club Anderlecht.

Most of the others play together at five-time African champions Al Ahli, giving fluidity to the Pharaohs' play, while several are from Egyptian rivals Ismaili.

"The Egyptian clubs are often brilliant in the African Champions League," says Angel Marcos, who coached Ismaili for a spell during the 1990s.

The Argentine added: "The clubs have very good structures, with a lot of effort being made in the academies. They have tactical courses, making the Egyptian clubs play like the South Americans and the Europeans.

"Undoubtedly, it is what gives the Pharaohs the edge over the other teams in Africa."

Egypt played a free-flowing passing game throughout the tournament, beating Cameroon 4-2 in their opening group game before thrashing hot favourites Ivory Coast 4-1 in the semifinals.

On Sunday, they dominated most of the game but were kept out by Cameroon's impressive goalkeeper Idriss Carlos Kameni until Mohamed Aboutrika pounced after an error by Rigobert Song. - Reuters

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