Egypt suffers first defeat under Aguirre

A makeshift Egypt squad succumbed to heat, humidity, and a Nigeria team missing several players of their own in what was manager Javier Aguirre’s first loss in charge.

The Pharaohs conceded in the opening seconds of the match in Asaba, a defensive blunder leading to Paul Onuachu’s scorcher past goalkeeper Mahmoud Genesh.

Egypt controlled the majority of possession but couldn’t muster a single shot on target in the first half.

The second interval provided a few more chances for the visitors, but Onuachu’s goal would hold up for Nigeria’s first win over Egypt since 1990, and their first in six tries.

Aguirre’s first loss as Egypt coach comes in his first friendly match at the team’s helm. His first five matches as manager were 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

The AFCON group draw will be held April 12 in Giza, where Egypt will host Africa’s showpiece football event for the first time since 2006.

Experimental Egypt finish AFCON Qualifying with disappointing draw [VIDEO]

Niger vs. Egypt

Egypt finished its 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with a lackluster 1-1 draw away to Niger.

Mahmoud Trezeguet opened the scoring for the visitors just after halftime, less than two minutes after coming on.

Amadou Moutari equalized 10 minutes from full-time in a match the hosts will be disappointed not to have won.

Earlier in the half, Egypt goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shenawy saved a penalty kick with a lunge to his right.

The Pharaohs fielded a largely experimental lineup, taking advantage of having already qualified for the AFCON finals – for which they were later named emergency hosts – by handing out maiden caps.

Egypt finishes second in Group J with 13 points, two behind winners Tunisia. Niger and eSwatini finish third and fourth respectively and have failed to qualify.

Manager Javier Aguirre will take his makeshift Egypt squad to Nigeria for a friendly on Wednesday.

Trezeguet’s goal vs. Niger

Egypt names squad, to rest stars against Niger and Nigeria

Egypt vs. Niger

Egypt has called-up several uncapped players for its March matches against Niger and Nigeria.

The Pharaohs have also chosen to rest England-based stars Mohamed Salah, Ahmed Hegazi, and Ahmed Elmohamady.

Among those returning to the fold is Zamalek defender – and Egyptian Premier League top-scorer – Mahmoud Alaa.

The Pharaohs conclude their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying campaign in Niger on March 22, before taking on Nigeria’s Super Eagles in a friendly match on March 26.

Egypt had already secured a place at Africa’s showpiece event before eventually being named emergency host.

The team has a 100% record under Mexican manager Javier Aguirre, winning four matches out of four in AFCON qualifying.

Full squad

Goalkeepers: Mahmoud Genesh (Zamalek), Mohamed Abo Gabal (Smouha), Ahmed El-Shenawy (Pyramids), Amer Amer (El-Entag El-Harby)

Defenders: Omar Gaber, Aly Gabr, Ahmed Ayman Mansour (Pyramids), Mohamed Hani (Ahly), Mahmoud Alaa (Zamalek), Baher Elmohamdy (Ismaily), Karim Hafez (Kasımpasa, Turkey), Ahmed Abo Elfotouh (Smouha)

Midfielders: Amr El-Sulaya (Ahly), Mohamed ElNeny (Arsenal, England), Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Aly Ghazal (Feirense, Portugal), Nabil Emad (Pyramids), Mahmoud Trezeguet (Kasimpasa, Turkey), Amr Warda (Atromitos, Greece), Islam Gaber (Dakhleya), Ammar Hamdi (Ittihad), Abdel-Rahman Magdi (Ismaily)

Forwards: Kouka (Olympiacos, Greece), Salah Mohsen (Ahly), Mostafa Mohamed (Tala’ El-Geish)

Ekramy could return to Pharaohs fold

Sherif Ekramy

Egypt national team goalkeeping coach Ahmed Nagy has left the door open for veteran  ‘keeper Sherif Ekramy to return to the squad.

“It is normal to call Ekramy up for the national team. He is a veteran international keeper and part of Egypt’s core squad. He played our last official match against Ghana and was one of the best players,” he said on Egyptian radio comments made Tuesday.

Ekramy was absent from the Pharaohs’ March training camp and friendlies, having lost his starting position at Ahly after a string of poor performances.

In his place, manager Héctor Cúper called-up Mohamed El-Shenawy – the player who replaced Ekramy in Ahly’s starting lineup – and Ismaily goalkeeper Mohamed Awad for their first international caps.

Their performances, especially El-Shenawy’s, received mostly positive reviews though Egypt lost friendlies to Portugal and Greece.

Experimenting with new ‘keepers may prove to be a shrewd move by Cúper, as Egypt’s regular second-choice net-minder, Ahmed El-Shenawy, recently suffered a knee injury that will see him miss the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The injury opens the door for Ekramy’s recall should he return to form.

Egypt’s next camp will be held in May, prior to a friendly against Kuwait on the 29th.