Team Profile: Egypt

Nickname: The Pharaohs
Association formed: 1920
Previous Afcon Appearances: 22 (1957, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1970, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010)
Best result: Champions (1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010)
Coach: Hector Cuper
Leading scorers: all-time –Hossam Hassan (68)
Most appearances: all-time –Ahmed Hassan (184
FIFA ranking: 36 (4th in CAF)

THE BIG QUESTION
The most dominant national team in the African Cup of Nations, with 7 titles to their name. But failing to qualify for three consecutive African Cup of Nations, 2012, 2013, 2015 raises doubts as to whether they are still a force to reckon with.

WHO ARE THEY?
The Egypt national football team represents Egypt in international association football and has done so since 1948. Egypt is the most successful national team in Africa, having won the Africa Cup of Nations on a record seven occasions: the inaugural edition in 1957 and on home soil in 1959, as well as the 1986 edition, Burkina Faso in 1998, 2006, Ghana in 2008 and Angola in 2010 edition. Egypt has also been as high as ninth in the FIFA World Rankings, making the team one of only three African national teams to enter the world’s top ten. However, Egypt has so far made only two appearances in the World Cup (in 1934 and 1990), failing to win a game on both occasions.

TOP THREE PLAYERS
Mohamed Salah: Mohamed Salah is the name on every Egyptian fan, group opponents and the media’s lips. There are few, if any, adjectives left to describe the Roma star whose 22 goals and 14 assists last season should have seen him win at least one top award. Could he be mad enough to prove his doubters wrong on his Nations Cup tournament debut?

Mohamed El Neny: El Neny is the engine room of the team who will aim to serve as a link between defence and attack. He plays a crucial role in the team and it is difficult seeing this Egyptian side playing without the influential Arsenal star.

Essam El Hadary: El Hadary turns 44 on 15 January, but is still famed for his agility between the sticks and will look to inspire a younger generation to another triumph. He serves as team captain these days, though well advanced in age he keeps getting better like fine old wine.

HOW THEY QUALIFIED
Egypt finished top of Group G with 10 points in a group that also included Nigeria, Tanzania and Chad although Chad did withdraw at the latter stages citing financial reasons. They currently look unstoppable after defeating Ghana 2-0 in their last Fifa World Cup qualifier at home.

FULL 23-MAN SQUAD AFCON

GOALKEEPERS: Ahmed El-Shennawy (Zamalek), Essam El-Hadary (Wadi Degla), Sherif Ekramy (Al Ahly)

DEFENDERS: Ahmed Fathi (Al Ahly), Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City – England), Mohamed Abdel-Shafy (Al-Ahli – Saudi Arabia), Karim Hafez (Lens – France), Ahmed Hegazy (Al Ahly), Saad Samir (Al Ahly), Ahmed Dweidar (Zamalek), Ali Gabr (Zamalek), Omar Gaber (FC Basel – Switzerland).

MIDFIELDERS: Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal – England), Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Ibrahim Salah (Zamalek), Abdallah El-Said (Al Ahly), Amr Warda (Panetolikos – Greece), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City – England), Mahmoud Hassan ‘Trezeguet’ (Royal Mouscron – Belgium).

FORWARDS: Ahmed Hassan ‘Koka’ (Braga – Portugal), Marwan Mohsen (Al Ahly), Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim ‘Kahraba’ (Al-Ittihad – Saudi Arabia), Mohamed Salah (AS Roma – Italy).

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