Egypt’s U-23 football team coach Shawky Gharib says Monday’s 3-2 win over Ghana in the U23 Africa Cup of Nations group stage is his “gift for Egyptian fans”, adding that the young Pharaohs didn’t achieve their target in the continental tournament yet.
After achieving their second successive win in the prestigious tournament as they also defeated Mali in Friday’s opening match, Egypt ensured a place at the semi final.
“The match is my gift to the fans whether those who came to the stadium or the others who watched the game at home,” Gharib said in the press conference after the match.
“I had no doubt that we would win the match. We were the better side and we got the most benefit of all the match details. We face a strong and stiff opponent. We played with a different style as every match needs its own way.
“The game was a very difficult one but we managed to handle it through the substitutions especially introducing Ahmed Yasser Rayan who made a big difference,” he added.
The young Pharaohs came back twice from behind as Mostafa Mohamed and Ramadan Sobhi cancelling out Yaw Yeboah and Samuel Obeng while Ahmed Yasser Rayan grabbed the winner one minute before time.
Gharib surprisingly didn’t watch Ghana’s second goal that came directly after the break.
“I wasn’t in the pitch as I was doing my prayers and when I returned I found that we received the second goal,” he said.
Egypt will face Cameroon, who beat Mali 1-0 earlier in the day, in their last group stage game on Thursday.
“We don’t have any achievement yet. All what we achieved is just that we ensured playing at the end of the tournament to continue competing for a spot at the Olympics,” the coach explained.
“We play for the fair play. Despite our qualification, We want to beat Cameroon to end the group stage as group leaders to continue our campaign at Cairo stadium,” he concluded.
Egypt finished third in the 2011 U23 Nations Cup and suffered an embarrassing group stage exit in the 2015 edition.