With exactly a week to the kick-off of the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, the Egypt national team manager, Carlos Queiroz, has spoken on his team’s preparations and how he came about the 25-man squad he is taking into the tournament.
Egypt’s opening game will be against Nigeria two days into the opening of the tournament.
According to Egyptian publication, Kingfut, the Pharaohs go into the tournament with a 25-man squad, which witnessed some surprises, mainly the exclusion of Zamalek midfielder Tarek Hamed and Al Ahly’s Mohamed Magdy Afsha.
The publication explained that the Portuguese coach explained the reasons behind his decisions, pointing out that the current group of players were the best suited to play in the AFCON in his eyes.
Hear him: “After 40 years of experience in my career, during which I coached many teams, I learned that the team is more important than the players, we bring the best solutions, the best group of players,” Queiroz said in his press conference
“My responsibility is to choose the best team, so I have to choose the players to form one player, which is the team. I’m talking about the team and not about a specific player
“I can talk about how we chose the players, we have followed the players and have had camps since last September, we have analyzed the teams and the players, we have studied every detail about the players, we have reports on everything about the national team.
“So according to the rules, we had to choose 40 players at first. We announced them, then we followed the players again and gathered more information. We know the size of the Africa Cup of Nations and the level of the competitors. We will face strong teams, teams with many players in Europe, 24 players who can decide the match and make difficult decisions,” Queiroz continued.
“We discussed everything with the technical staff, we had to pick players who can create a harmonious team with a strong mentality to fight for victory, so we had to make some decisions.
“There are many players in Egypt, we chose in the end 25 players, I mentioned only two names, but I also did not call-up Ahmed Refaat, Ahmed Yassin and others. I can only call up 25 players.
“We won’t say why they weren’t called-up, but I can say why I chose others such as Amr El-Sulya, Omar Marmoush, Mohamed Salah, and Mahmoud Trezeguet.
“It’s because I believe that these 25 players will be able to build a strong and cohesive team that plays good football and is able to win and fight for it and has a strong mentality.
“This tournament is very strong. We need players who are ready to perform whenever we need them. Before the final list of players is announced, no player has a place reserved.
“As a coach, I speak in the match, as well as the player, and, god willing, I am confident that this squad is capable of providing the best performance in the tournament.
“There are players on the reserve list that we may resort to. Everyone is free to express their opinion. I’m confident that the list I have chosen is able to properly represent the Egyptian national team,” Queiroz added.
Queiroz then spoke about his goals in AFCON and the World Cup qualifiers and how he had to cope with the schedule changes in the Egyptian Premier League.