Aston Villa right-back Ahmed Elmohamady has named head coach Hector Cuper and the team’s experience as key factors that ensured their successful qualification to the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.
Since their second appearance at the quadrennial event in Italy 1990, the Pharaohs are back on the global stage after topping Ghana, Congo and Uganda in their qualification group.
And the 30-year-old who was part of the team that missed out on South Africa 2010 to Algeria and Brazil 2014 to Ghana has highlighted the difference in the current squad that has Al Taawon’s 45-year-old goalkeeper as their captain.
“First, I think it’s down to the manager. Hector Cuper is one of the greatest coaches we’ve ever had in the national team,” Elmohamady told FIFA.com.
“Also, I think the experience in the team is important. You see the goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary - he’s 45. In the camps, in the games, he’s talking to the players and giving all of his experience to his team-mates.
“The Africa Cup of Nations also helped the younger players get some experience. You can see that in the games that we won against some good teams like Ghana.”
Following their pairing with host Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia in Group A, the former Hull City player disclosed the Pharaohs’ target while looking forward to a tough contest in the group stage.
It’s not an easy group, but it’s not as difficult as it could have been,”he added.
“The target is to go through the group stage and then after that, we’ll see which team we can get. Hopefully we can go as far as possible as it would mean a lot to Egyptian fans. Loads of fans will go to Russia, so hopefully we can help them celebrate as much as possible.”
Egypt will begin their World Cup quest against Uruguay on June 15 at the Central Stadium in Yekaterinburg.