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Profiling the AFCON teams: Egypt

Egypt will be featuring in their 23rd AFCON finals. (PHOTOS/AGENCIES)

Egypt will be featuring in their 24th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament and their second in a raw since 2017. They have won the tournament a record 7 times.

In the 2019 edition, Egypt is in Group A alongside DR Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

They first participated in the first  AFCON tournament in 1957 which they won after defeating Ethiopia 4-0 in the final. Egypt became champions again in 1959 after beating up on both Ethiopia and Sudan, the only other sides that participated in the three team tournament.

Their third appearance, which was in the 1962 finals saw then finish second after losing 4-2 after extra time, to the hosts. In Ghana 1963, the Pharaohs finished third following a 3-0 third-place victory over Ethiopia.

For the 1965 edition, Egypt did qualify for the tournament, but they withdrew because of their diplomatic relationship with Tunisia, who were hosts of the tournament. The same scenario happened the subsequent edition in 1968.

In the 1970 Egypt once again finished third, after defeating follow semifinal losers Ivory Coast. For the 74 edition Egypt lost to 5-3 on aggregate to Morocco in the qualifiers, meaning that for the first time in the competition’s history, the Pharaohs had failed to qualify for an AFCON tournament.

However, they returned for the 1974 edition which was hosted on their home soil, again finishing third after losing to Zaire in the semifinals and defeating Congo in the third place-playoff.

In 1976, they finished four after losing all their second-group stage matches. It was the first time they had lost three games in a single tournament. After the poor show in Ethiopia two years ago, for the second time, Egypt failed to qualify for the AFCON, in 1978.

Egypt reappeared for the 1980 AFCON in Nigeria where they came fourth, for the second time in the tournament history. The following tournament in Libya would see Egypt withdraw from qualification and thus did not take part.

Egypt are the record winners of the AFCON tittles with 7 titles.

For the 1984 edition, Egypt returned and lost to Nigeria on penalties in the semi finals and had to settle for fourth place after a 3-1 loss to Algeria in the third place playoff game.

The AFCON tournament returned to Egypt in 1986 and it was all smiles for them as they managed to win a third AFCON title following a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over Roger Milla’s Cameroon in the final played in Cairo.

In the 1990 edition in Algeria, it got worse. Egypt did qualify for this tournament, and they were put in Group A, along with the hosts, Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast. Egypt lost all their group stage games, thus making Egypt fail to obtain at least one point for the first time in the Africa Cup of Nations.

The same scenario happened in the 1992 edition in Senegal as the Pharaohs once again lost all their group games and were dumped out of the tournament.

In 1994, they bounced back, made it out of Group B which featured Nigeria and Gabon. They would however lose 1-0 to Mali in the quarters to end their dream of a fourth title.

In the 1996 tournament, hosted in South Africa, Egypt were placed in Group A with the hosts South Africa, Cameroon, and Angola. They made it out of the group in second position but again lost out in the quarter finals to Zambia.

In Burkina Faso 1998, Egypt would once again win the tournament, their fourth title since. They were placed in Group D, with Mozambique, Zambia, and Morocco, managing to top it with six points. The Pharaohs went on to overcome Ivory Coast in the quarters, take care of the hosts in the last four and then defeat defending champions South Africa 2-0 in the final.

In the next edition in Ghana and Nigeria (2000), Egypt advanced from the groups with maximum points but lost 1-0 to Tunisia in the quarter finals.

For the 2002 edition in Mali, Egypt progressed from the groups with six points despite losing their opening game 1-0 to Senegal. They once again went on to lose their quarter final game, going down 0-1 to Cameroon this time round.

Egypt qualified to the 2004 finals, which was hosted in Tunisia, failing to progress out of the group stages after losing one and drawing the other of their three group games.

The 2006 AFCON was hosted in Egypt, making Egypt automatically qualified. After two victories and a draw, Egypt made it to the quarter finals where they powered past DR Congo 4-1.  In the semi-finals, Egypt faced Senegal whom they defeated 2–1 to reach a first final since 1998. After a 0-0 draw in 120 minutes, Egypt overcame Ivory Coast 4-2 on penalties to ensure they are crowned champions for a fifth time in history.

Egyptian players and staff celebrate winning the 2006 edition in Ghana.

The 2006 victory was a start of three trophies on the trot as the Pharaohs also won the AFCON tournament in 2008 and 2010 and subsequently take their tally of titles to a record 7.

However, after the three titles in a row, Egypt would go on and fail to qualify for the next three editions, 2012, 13 and 15.

Their next appearance at the finals came in 2017 in the edition in Gabon. They would power their way out of the group and also defeat Morocco for the first time in 31 years in the last 8, to reach the semis. They got the better of Burkina Faso on penalties in the semis with legendary goalkeeper Essam El Hadry saving two spot-kick, to storm the finals. Egypt then faced for the third time at this stage Cameroon, hoping for history to repeat itself for an 8th title. Egypt opened the score before the break. However, Cameroon stepped up its game in the second half and scored two goals including one in the final minutes to win the contest. For the second time in its history Egypt lost an AFCON final, and for the first time lost a final to their rival Cameroon.

Head coach

Javier Aguirre Onaindía

Aguirre is a 60 year old Mexican coach who was named as Egypt tactician in July 2018. As a player, Aguirre was a member of the Mexican national team and later became coach on two separate occasions, but resigned after the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

He has managed a number of high-profile clubs including Atletico Madrid, Osasuna, Zaragoza, Espanyol and Pachuca. He has also been a national team coach for Japan where he managed from 2014-2015.

Aguirre became Egypt coach in 2018.

Star player

Muhamed Salah

Salah, 26, is a global icon who plays for current UEFA Champions League champions Liverpool. He is a back to back Golden boot winner in the English Premier League, winning the prize in 2018 and 2019.

Salah has scored 187 goals for club and country and is one of the players expected to contend for the player of the tournament in AFCON 2019. For Egypt, Salah has scored 39 goals in 62 apperances.

Salah has scored 39 goals for Egypt.

Projection: Runners up

Egypt Fixtures at AFON 2019

-Egypt vs Zimbabwe, 21st June

-DR Congo vs Egypt, 26th June

-Egypt vs Uganda, 30th June

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