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Shehata eyes third straight title against Ghana

Shehata eyes third straight title against Ghana

Hassan Shehata hopes to become the first coach to lift three African Cup of Nations titles in a row when his Egypt side takes on Ghana in Sunday's final.
"It's going to be hard for us but we are ready to overcome the challenge," Shehata's assistant Shawky Gharib said. "We came here only to defend our title."
Ghana will be without several key players as it tries to land its first continental crown since 1982. However, it has been buoyed by the form of Andre Ayew, the son of Ghana great Abedi Pele and scorer of the goal against Burkina Faso that put his team into the quarterfinals.
"We have been enjoying ourselves and our football," Ayew said. "I think we have done very well in this tournament. Most of the guys are hungry. They were presented with an opportunity and they grabbed it."
Ghana's route to the final wasn't without its problems. After playing just 45 minutes against Ivory Coast in the group opener, inspirational midfielder Michael Essien withdrew from the tournament with a knee injury.
Captain Stephen Appiah didn't even make the trip to Angola along with other injured players including John Mensah and John Painsil, while Inter Milan's Sulley Muntari was axed because of indiscipline.
"One must give credit to these boys, they have done well," Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac said. "This has given them priceless exposure to international football and the demands of competing in big tournaments."
In the absence of such experienced players, Samuel Inkoom has been a revelation in defense alongside Lee Addy. The team didn't concede against either Angola in the quarterfinals or Nigeria in the semifinals.
But the youngsters will need to be at their defensive best to tame the Egyptian attack especially, on the break. Shehata's side, unbeaten in 18 matches at the African Cup, have scored 14 and conceded just two so far. They also have the prospect of winning a record seventh title.
Mohamed Gedo, who has scored four goals despite being used mostly as a substitute, is likely to make a rare start on Sunday as a replacement for Mahmoud Fathalla, who is suspended.
There are injury doubts over Wael Gomaa and Emad Moteab after they picked up injuries in the 4-0 win against Algeria.
"When the tournament started, most of the guys were a bit nervous, and that is expected when you have a young team," stand-in skipper and goalkeeper Richard Kingson said. "But they have adjusted and adapted well."


Updated : 2021-08-04 21:52 GMT+08:00