Rainier Plahar

Egypt enter the Confederations Cup on the back of an impressive success at the last African Cup of Nations. The Pharoahs never looked seriously threatened as they romped to a second successive continental victory in Ghana last year. Indeed Egypt have been undoubtedly the most organised side in Africa over the past few years, and this organisation has rewarded the North African side with a very consistent team for the past few years now. They go into the Confederations Cup seeking to break their duck in global competitions and boost confidence ahead of subsequent World Cup qualifiers.

A wonderfully direct team, Egypt will be relishing the chance to showcase to the world their wonderful brand of football that has dominated Africa for the past five years.


Hassan Shehata
Hassah Shehata has an impeccable record. Amongst more recognisable triumphs, he is the only manager to lead a second division side in Egypt to any major title, winning the 2004 Egyptian Cup and Super Cup with with lowly Mekawleen, beating giants Al Ahly and Zamalek in the respective finals. Shehata has had distinguished careers as both player and manager, winning the African Cup of Nations in both roles. A strong disciplinarian, it should be interesting to see how he fares against the traditional powerhouses in world football.

Players to Watch

Essam El Hadary – Goalkeeper – FC Sion (Switzerland)

With 102 caps and three African championship winners medals, El Hadari is one of Egypt’s more experienced players. The FC Sion goalkeeper is also one of the most unsung players in the team. El Hadary is an imposing presence in the penalty area and commands his defence greatly. How he fares in the Confederations Cup against the big guns of Brazil and Italy will go a long way in determining how far the Pharoahs go.

Mohammed Aboutrika – Midfielder – Al Ahly (Egypt)

Arguably the most effective midfielder in Africa, it can be argued the only reason Aboutrika hasn’t been crowned African best is because he doesn’t ply his trade in Europe. Strong and skilful on the ball, the hard running midfielder is the likely to take charge and command Egypt’s midfield. He is unlikely to be fazed against the big names of Italy and Brazil. Aboutrika will impress definitely, the question is whether his supporting cast will be up to it.

Mohammed Zidan – Attacking Midfielder/Striker – Borussia Dortmund (Germany)

The ‘Egyptian Zidane’ burst into the international limelight at the last African Championship in Ghana. There the 27 year-old’s sterling performances ensured Egypt retained the title. Currently based in Germany with Borussia Dortmund, Zidan is a quick player and very useful on the counter attack, he’s comfortable with the ball at his feet and links up well with the attack. On a good day Zidan is more than capable of troubling any defence.

Amir Zaki – Striker – Wigan Athletic (England)

Forget about Zaki’s woes in the second half of the league season with Wigan. He’s at his best in national colours. As witnessed by the world in the earlier stages of the English Premier League, Zaki is strong on his feet and in the air, add his powerladen shot and he’s a handful for any defence. Zaki’s physique makes for a good target man and if Zidan and co deliver he should score a few goals.


Egypt appear the stronger of the two African teams at the Confederations Cup. They are however in the harder side of the draw. Drawn in Group B with Brazil, World Champions Italy and the United States they will need to play above themselves to progress. What could be in their favour however is the fact that Italy and Brazil may use this tournament to try put tactics and new players as against actually being in it to win it. In any case Shehata will also be seeking to use this tournament as a means of exposing his mostly local based players and giving them confidence as they prepare for the rest of their World Cup qualifiers.

Egypt should be content if stand up to the big boys of Brazil and Italy, even if they do not make it out of the group stage in the process, but a semi-final berth is not at all beyond them. If Egypt believe in themselves and stick to their work ethic they have the potential to go close.

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