Benin aim to topple Pharaohs
Posted: 19 January 2010 Time: 9:51 am
Benin are all fired-up to get their first-ever win in the Africa Cup of Nations against continental heavyweights Egypt tomorrow.
The Squirrels are third in Group C with a point from two matches, but still have a chance of progressing to the next round if they shock the African champions and second-placed Nigeria lose to Mozambique.
“We have not given up yet because we still have a match to play and if we get the results we wish for, we could still remain in the tournament. We will fight till the end,” says Benin coach Michel Dussuyer.
Benin have already pulled off a shock result in the qualifiers when they piped the Black Stars of Ghana 1-0 at home in September courtesy of a late winner by youngster Mohammed Aoudou.
Six-time champions Egypt, on the other hand, will be hoping to extend a new record of going unbeaten in 15 matches in the championship since the 2004 tournament, where they last lost 2-1 to bitter regional rivals Algeria.
The previous record of 14 games without defeat was held by Cameroon, who achieved this record between 1984 and 1988. The Pharaohs are top of Group C after they recorded maximum points from their first two matches against Nigeria and Mozambique.
They became the second team after Ivory Coast to reach the last eight in Angola and as a result coach Hassan Shehata will give several fringe players a run out against the Squirrels tomorrow (Wednesday).
Shehata has disclosed that first-choice goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary will, along with several other key players like Al Ahly central defender Wael Gomaa, be rested and so afford him an opportunity to assess the likes of ENPPI midfielder Abdelaziz Tawfik and Moatasem Salem from Ismailia.
The Egypt coach has bemoaned the lack of quality goalkeepers in the country, even suggesting that foreign goalkeepers be banned from the domestic championship so that young home-grown goalkeepers get a better chance to come through.
Skipper Ahmed Hassan (34), will also be in action for his 169th cap to equal the all-time Egyptian record set by striker Hossam Hassan.
Benin will be missing their biggest star, Stephane Sessegnon of Paris Saint-Germain through suspension.