Afcon 2019: Heavy criticism angers Egypt players – Gennesh

The injured Zamalek goalkeeper believes fans should get behind the hosts rather than constantly criticise their displays at the Afcon finals

Egypt reserve goalkeeper Mahmoud Gennesh has called on the nation’s supporters to wholly get behind the players in the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

Javier Aguirre’s troops topped Group A with nine points after defeating Zimbabwe, DR Congo and Uganda, but their performances were met with criticism after every game.

After his tournament was cut short due to an Achilles rupture, Gennesh spoke about the Pharaohs performances.

"We are like one family in the national team but sometimes heavy criticism angers the players, especially as the tournament is at home,” the Zamalek shot-stopper told ON Sport TV channel.

“Everyone should support the team even if they don't like the performances because the coming period [knockout stages] is very important.

“Playing among Egyptian fans, the players always feel under pressure from wanting to please their country and achieve their hopes.

“Fans are always motivating us and performances will get better gradually.”

Mahmoud Gennesh PS

Following his injury, goalkeeper coaches Ahmed Nagy was blamed by critics who claimed his intense training methods led to his lengthy layoff. However, Gennesh leapt to the coach’s defense before revealing plans for his imminent surgery.

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"Nagy isn't the reason behind my injury. Thank God for everything. I hope everyone stands behind the national team as they’ll need their full support in the coming period.

"I will travel to Germany on Tuesday to undergo surgery on Wednesday or Thursday. I will remain there for 10 days before returning to Egypt," he concluded.

The Round of 16 begins on July 5, with Egypt to battle South Africa in Cairo on July 6 as they continue their push for an eighth Afcon crown, and a first since 2010.