Malawi went down fighting 1-2 to Egypt’s national team 1 in a friendly match on Monday amid their preparation for the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers. The Flames will officially kick off their bid to reach the Gabon finals on 14 June against Zimbabwe’s Warriors while the Pharaohs of Egypt with face Tanzania.
In the 19th minute, a blunder from Malawi defender put the ball in the path of Haras El-Hodoud midfielder Ahmed Hassan Mekky who tapped home from close range. A first-half goal by midfielder Mekky gave the Egyptians an early lead, before striker Mohamed El-Gabbas increased the lead directly after the second half start. Malawi fought fiercely to restore the balance, but they only managed to hit the net once on the hour mark.
Egypt’s goals today are from Mekky, at nineteen minutes, and El Gabbas, at forty-seven. Malawi in turn has one goal from Banda at sixty-four minutes. Malawi has two wins, two draws and one loss in their last five matches. Egypt has three wins and two losses in their last five battles.
Egypt successfully beat Botswana last year, but then they fell to Senegal and got beat by Tunisia. Since then, Egypt won over Equatorial Guinea this March. Missing both Ahly and Zamalek players who had continental commitments with their clubs on Sunday, Egypt’s Argentian coach Hector Cuper relied on a second string team against Malawi.
Cuper said the match against Malawi was beneficial for the Pharaohs ahead of their AFCON qualifying fixture against Taifa Stars. “Malawi game was helpful for us as we now search for options for both Ahly and Zamalek players,” the coach said at a press conference after the match.
While Chelsea forward Mohamed Salah and Hull City winger Ahmed Elmohamady have been included in Egypt’s squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. On-loan Chelsea winger Salah started on the bench in friendly match against Malawi.
The Argentine called eight Zamalek players and just two from Ahly to join the training camp directly after their African matches, but they didn’t feature in the game. It was a sudden decision, especially for Ahly fans, whose players always formed the bulk of the national team in the past.
“I am not favouringZamalek over Ahly. The problem is that most of Ahly’s international players were injured and so they weren’t available for camp,” Cuper explained. “Also, HossamGhaly’s absence was for technical reasons, not for the recent dispute with his club,” he added.