Monday, February 11, 2008

Six-Time-Champions Egypt Too Hot To Handle

At the inception when the Pharoahs opened thier Ghana 2008 nations Cup account with a 4-2 maiming of Cameroon, most people including me thought itwas all fluke.

I have never given the Egyptians the respect they deserve even when they won the last edition hosted in Egypt. The problem I had with them is the negative football which i think all North African Sides are fond of. Their natural game is a game of hostilities especially when at home. They employ everything but posiitive measure to win matches a typical example is how they treat visiting teams when in the CAF champions league which they have held sway for years now.
For these reasons i usually do not give them credit when they win titles.

But this time, i was amazed at the quality of football the Egyptians played. They were marvellous throughout the competition as they made sure they won all their matches and score the higest number of goals scoring in every single game.

The upsets they created have seen big teams like Ivory Coast and Cameroon suffered their battering.

What is more spectacular about these Pharoahs is the lack of big names in the team. Apart from Abou Treika who came into lime light after coming 3rd runner up in the 2006 African Footballer Of the Year Award, no other player is really a name. Again these players ply their trade in the league in Egypt and goes to show what familiarity can achieve in football. The players mostly from Al haly of Egypt have won the CAF champions league back-to-back in the last two season with a spate of unbeaten runs.

They were not just outstanding individually but when it comes to linking up with one another. The game saw cameroon roaring in the first 10-15 minutes. Later on it was all a balance game till the end of the first half. On resumption, it was the North Africans who appear more likely to score a goal despite both sides pepertually threatening. The Egyptians were sleek and purposeful. It became very boring at a time and most of us were alreay brazing up for an extra time to be followed by penalty shoot out when the Pharoahs struke as they had a different plan up their sleeves.

It took some slopiness from Cameroon's defensive strong man Rigobert Song for the Egyptians to Score the goal that finally decided the winner of this edition of AFCON. Song was really sloppy there for he had several options to either pass the ball to the goalkeeper, turn around to put the back on play, or even put the ball out of play but he decided to wait until the Egyptian caught up to engage him in a tug of war, won the ball and sent the most desperate of passes which seperated the sides.

The Champions surely proved a point that winning the title two years ago was no fluke. I must say here that this is how to win matches. Winning without negative play as they were a site to behold.

What lessons should other teams learn from this? Maybe those planning to sack their coaches should remember that every new coach comes to form his own team and consistency is the only way out. This could also serve as a call to probably let Berti Vogts continue till 2010!

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