With just weeks to the crunch tie between Egypt and Nigeria for the sole qualification ticket in Group G, the Pharaoh’s new manager, Hector Cuper, said he might need new players to achieve the team’s goal.
The Argentine, who formerly coached Valencia and Inter Milan, said this as he prepared the team for a friendly match against Burkina Faso on Saturday.
The new coach said he would not have the foreign-based players for the friendly, but said whoever was invited should not despair.
“The exclusion of some players from this training camp doesn’t mean they won’t be called up for Nigeria clash.
“They just have to work harder and prove their worth. Therefore new players might get called up for Nigeria training camp,” the experienced coach added.
Egypt lead the AFCON 2017 qualifiers group with six points from two matches, while Nigeria trail them on four points, which means Sunday Oliseh’s team need at least four points from the two back-to-back matches in March to top the table.
Egypt are playing the Burkinabes to prepare for fellow West African opposition.
“Burkina Faso’s game will prepare us well for the Nigeria clash in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
“Despite not having our players abroad, this is a good chance to test our local league’s best players,” the manager said.
The manager said further that he was not worried by the recent fortunes of the seven-time African champions.
“I’m not worried by Al Ahly and Zamalek’s inconsistent form, this is the time for new teams and players to shine.
“I hope we beat Nigeria or at least maintain the two-point difference between us, in order to qualify to the African Cup of Nations,” Cuper added.
Meanwhile, it seems the Nigeria Football Federation Technical Committee are still on different pages as it was reported that the coach shunned Thursday’s meeting, in which he was supposed to enunciate his plans for the two clashes with Egypt.