The Pharaohs Face Tough Test When They Meet the Super Eagles

Egypt go into their opening match of the African Cup of Nations, against Nigeria on the 12th January, knowing that it is unlikely to decide their fate with regards to progression from Group C. When the Pharaohs hunt the Super Eagles, the winners will become firm favourites to top the group, but the side that are defeated will still be confident of progression.

Nigeria will have been disappointed with their failure to progress past the quarter-final stage in 2008, as they certainly have the quality in their squad. The battle of the midfield will be the key to this game, with a stark contrast between the two mentalities. The powerhouse of Seyi Olofinjana and John Obi Mikel will be one of the toughest tests Egypt will meet in the competition. And the winners of that battle could well win the match.

However, the Pharaohs still have to be alert to the attacking prowess of the Nigerian side. Shaibu Amodu has a wealth of options in Obafemi Martins, Kanu, Yakubu and Victor Obinna to choose from, as any combination could prove lethal.

At 33, Kanu hopes to prove he hasn’t lost it

Nigeria boss Shaibu Amodu could have trouble motivating his players, though, with the fans having already turned against him. If his side go a goal down, they may lose all faith.

Hassan Shehata, during his time at the helm of the national team, has drilled his own ideas into the Egypt side; the 3-5-2 formation the most famous of these. A technically gifted midfield is given the freedom to express themselves, and this led them to outclass the resilient African midfields in the 2008 competition.

 Despite the abundance of talent in the Egypt squad, they are susceptible to a bit of pace. The 3-5-2 formation, due to the deployment of a sweeper, stifles the threat through the middle, but can cause them problems out wide. However, Shehata has been experimenting with a 4-4-2 setup in recent friendlies, and we wait to see which formation the side will adopt over the course of the month.

 

Shehata (left) is loved by his fans, unlike his Nigerian counterpart

Prediction: Well with the plethora of talent on display, you would expect a thrilling match. However, I feel both sides will start conservatively, not wanting to concede the first goal. But once the first goal is scored, the game should liven up, with a fast-paced, end to end game. In the end, though, I feel there will be nothing to separate the teams, with the game ending 1-1.

One Response to “The Pharaohs Face Tough Test When They Meet the Super Eagles”

  1. ANC Feedback Says:

    Like the way you look at their opponents and the key battle on the pitch.
    Especially like the managers images, with the caption.
    Good to read a brief tactical analysis and the prediction at the end concludes the article nicely.

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