Angola 2010 preview: The Pharaohs going for their bi-annual hunt in the African Jungle!!
It is that that time of the year when the Pharaoh of Egypt goes for his hunt in the African jungle in a quest for glory, his people has bid him farewell with hopes that they would receive him at the same place one month later when he returns with his spoils bringing them joy and pride just as he did for the past four years.
This year the yield looks promising, the African jungle is full of untamed monsters: The Eagles, The Super Eagles, The Carthage Eagles, The Elephants, The Black Antelopes, The Indomitable Lions, The Squirrels, The Mambas (snakes), The Desert Foxes and there are the Black Stars, The Flames and The Copper Bullets; all ready to bring the Pharaoh down from his throne.
The old man is injured, following a battle with the Desert Foxes down the Nile valley, he is missing some of his main trustful generals who were the key behind his successes lately; however, he made a call up for new recruits through all the kingdom and he wasn’t disappointed as reinforcement came from Thebes, Heliopolis, Memphis and Edfu; he chose to rely on new talents with the help of some of his old troops to bring him victories this year and for years to come.
I didn’t get the chance to write a preview of the group so I am going to do a brief one now.
Our main group contender and a strong candidate for the title; the Super Eagles has their strong character on the field; their mix of talented and physically strong foreign based players will prove difficult to batter.
While we fought our battles with Cameroon and Cote D’ivoire for continental supremacy during the past four years, they have been absent from the scene since World Cup 2002 and were struggling to reform but they seem to be coming back after snatching the world cup ticket from Tunisia.
Names like John Obi Mikel of Chelsea, Taye Taiwo of Marseille, Yakubu of Everton and Nwankwo Kanu of Portsmouth are capable of shaking any team given that they are focused and, most importantly, want victory; however, they will be missing Jay-Jay Okosha, the talented play maker.
Their coach Shaibu Amodu, was about to be replaced by Claude Le Roi, although he was the one who led Nigeria to the world cup so one can predict that he will be under immense pressure to win this title if he wants to keep his post at the head of the Super Eagles’ technical staff.
The last time they won this title was 14 years ago so they are hungry for trophies and definitely they are a team to fear.
Now this team is going to be the real trick of the group; Nigeria is strong and we know it but this team is unpredictable and they proved that they can cause upsets.
I saw them play against Tunisia; they are a very good team who can keep ball possession and have very talented players with very high dribbling skills and most importantly they can play as a group, unlike many African national teams.
Tico-Tico is their star; however, he isn’t the only one, Dário and Mexer are key players as well; as I said they play as a team and their physical strength isn’t that high so they don’t rely on it much; mainly they are a counter attack team who can hold back in defense until they sting just like they did with Tunisia.
Good thing that they are our second opponent, as I believe this game will say a lot about the eventual winners of the group.
Supposedly, the weakest team in the group but as we know, our flops come against inferior teams so it shouldn’t be an easy game as well.
I haven’t seen them lately but by a quick look at their team roster, I didn’t find a powerful name that we should be wary of; however, usually, these teams play compact football and although they may not beat you, they can cause trouble by grabbing a point.
They are our last group opponent so we shall know what we need from the game by then; all I hope is that we take them seriously.
The Knock-out stage (if we are to participate in it)
As you can see, if we are to proceed as first or second in our group, our quarter-final opponents will be most likely Tunisia or Cameroon; a difficult encounter whoever it will be.
And if we are to proceed to the semi-final, our opponents are most likely to be one of Angola, Ghana, Cote D’ivoire or Algeria, a decisive and very difficult clash; especially, if it is going to be against hosts, Angola, or a rematch against Algeria.
Traditionally, we are famous for our 3-5-2 formation; but Hassan Shehata seems to have other plans for the team this time. During both friendlies against Mali and Malawi he adopted a 4-4-2 formation; mainly because of the bad form Hani Said is suffering from and backed with the fact that most of his players are used to it at their clubs since most local clubs are now sifting toward eliminating sweepers and relying on two center-backs and wingers doing their defensive role.
However, in both friendlies we sucked in defense and free kicks and crosses continued to be a nightmare because of terrible man marking; also counter attacks proved lethal against us due to speed differences between our players and African ones; conventionally, the sweeper made up for this by serving as a late defender but now unless we have better efficiency from Gomaa and Fathallah (El Saqqa) we are going to have some serious problems out there.
In Midfield, Shehata will most probably rely on Ahmed Hassan, Hosni, Ghaly and Fathi; while Hassan will perform the play maker role leaning toward the right side in times when Mohammadi is in attack, Fathi will stay behind as an advanced defender and cover for Moawad.
The first half’s formation against Mali is most probably, the one he will field in the tournament.
Shikabala: he is still unknown to African fans and this might be his chance to let them know him and even remember his name very well as possible Abu Treika’s successor; he will most likely be a second half substitute and If he can do his magic, he might be receiving offers higher than Napoli’s (25 million EP); however, it all depends on how serious he is taking the chance and how focused and willing he is.
Geddo: Shehata proved once more that he has a good eye when it comes to choosing new players; he was attacked for favoring Alexandria’s top scorer over Mido but he was proven right when Geddo scored the winner against Mali. He is a good striker with good physical ability and his finishing skills are excellent; if given the chance, I don’t think he will waste it.
On the other hand, this might be the last tournament for El Hadary, Wael Gomaa, El Saqqa, Sayed Mowad and Ahmed Hassan.
No other team has one this cup three times in a row, even when only 4 or 5 weak teams participated so how difficult can it be now when all teams are good and all teams are formed of professional players and no game can be considered easy; especially when you are the champion and everybody is eager to beat you.
It isn’t only the intense competition that makes me lower my expectations, but our team also doesn’t look good and we are missing two key players, Abu Treika and Amr Zaki, and many players are out of form like Hosni Abd Raboh and Hani Said forcing Shehata to change tactics; new players were called to make up for the above mentioned players but for many of them, Angola 2010 will be the first international event to take part in so we shouldn’t put pressure on them, let’s just hope they surprise us.
Furthermore, the morals of both fans and players are low following the world cup qualification’s flop, the fans aren’t as enthusiastic which is reflected on the very low, almost nonexistent, travelling fans who will cheer for the team in Angola; Shehata’s selection of players only made matters worse after leaving out Homos, Shawky, Mido and Hazem Emam as many fans turned on him and many lost interest in the team and the tournament saying that it would be meaningless to keep on winning the African title while failing to qualify for the World Cup.
I am not being pessimistic; I am very excited about this tournament but I am only talking about public opinion which might change 180 degrees if we achieve a score against Nigeria; if that happens, everything will be different.
Expectations are low for the team to achieve the title; however, a semi-final would be a great result given that we win a new group of players who can carry on with the team in 2014’s World Cup qualifications.
The optimism/pessimism factor
Having said that, I should mention that we always excelled under this kind of atmosphere and history backs me up on this.
In 1998, El Gohary said we will finish 13th and everyone excluded us from the race on the title; however, a heroic team lead by Hossam Hassan returned home with the cup.
In 2006, the team looked miserable and results in friendlies were very bad; also, Shehata was new and was expected to be given his farewell early after the tournament; however, we managed to win it.
In 2008, we looked horrible during qualifications (we qualified with a last minute goal against Botswana) and all other teams seemed more powerful and ready than we are; however, a stunning performance and score against Cameroon saw our chances turned upside down and we won our 6th continental title.
All I am saying is that the atmosphere under which we enter this tournament gives me a glimpse of hope that we can impress….who knows!!!
We will play our games in Benguela, a city in western Angola, south of Luanda, and capital of Benguela Province. It lies on a bay of the same name and has a population of 513,000 people. Benguela is Angola’s second most famous city and self-appointed cultural capital. It is a charming muddle of low-rise apartment blocks and sputtering motorcycles that weave deftly between Benguela’s famous crimson acacia trees.
This is our stadium
The Ombaka National Stadium was inaugurated last Monday; it has the capacity of 35,000 seats
Egypt – Nigeria 12/1/2010
Egypt – Mozambique 16/1/2010
Egypt – Benin 20/1/2010
Where to watch?
Well, Al Jazeera sports can go have fun with its exclusive bullshit because we can watch all games for free on French channel TV5, although commentary will be in French.
The “honored” channel is practicing monopoly and blackmailed local televisions of Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria asking for one million Egyptian pound for each game and 200 million for the tournament; unfortunately for them, they don’t know that we Egyptian by hook or by crook will watch the games and on Al Jazeera without paying a single piaster…if you know what I mean!!!
They obviously don’t know who they are dealing with
Anyway, if you aren’t in the Middle East region and Nile Sat won’t be available for you here are some online streams where you can watch the tournament:
(Thanks to Sscouser from Malawi’s blog for providing us with them)
Also keep in touch with the blog throughout for more working streams game by game.
That’s it for now.
One last thing, if you have a Facebook account, you are most welcome to join our page there
See you against Nigeria
what happened to togo is terrible but i blame caf and the organizing committee for chosingan unstable city with rebelions to host a group!!!
also, it seems that our team is having problems with training fields, they went for the field today to find the nigerian team; the organizing committee has mixed things up….. i hope we finish the tournament safely without much troubles!!!!
Thanks Tamim I’m sure he did all the subscriction stuff…anyway I hope Egypt can lift our heads once again and show the whole world that we are still the kings of Africa. I will have to wake up at 3 am to watch it im sure in Egypt that’s normal lol but here it’s quite hard and they jerseys’s are awesome but they will have to make a newer one if we win it because we will need 7 stars instead of 6 all in all godd luck.
Posted from Australia
well togo has decided to come back and compete in the tournament !
i don’t know if anyone just saw the mali-angola game! oh my goodness!! i’m so hyped for this tournament now! go egypt!
side note: togo will not be participating in the tournament anymore, as their prime minister has called the team to come back home!
yeah Tony, what a thriller!!!
i didn’t get to see the goals yets but it seems to me that it was a fine game; i hope we can learn to be as stubborn as Mali’s team.
Nigeria’s preview soon
I was on livescore.com the last 15 minutes, and everytime I clicked refresh a goal was scored, I can’t believe it ended 4-4… I’m sorry for Manuel Jose, Flavio and Gilberto… but what a start to the tournament!
you seem to be a big Zamalkawy ya Hany….mesh keda bardo
Hahaha I’ve been an Ahly fan ever since I was born. Shaklak keda Zamalkawy ya Tamim! el 7elw mayekmalsh…
looool……ana masrawy mot3aseb
2-0 Malawi Half time… Comments after the game.
LOL 3-0 Malawi!
That was terrible from Algeria but in all honesty, We all know they are much better than that. Let’s see how they will do against Angola and Mali.
Hany I have to respectfuly disagree with you. Algeria is not a very good team. They only had 30% possesion against us in the last two games despite us not playing to our level.All non Algerian analysts have said the same thing. Algeria is an average team that got lucky .That is not a knock against Algeria we have no one to blame but ourselves losing to this weak team is inexcusable. I think they will lose to both Mali and Angola. What a shame. This team will be representing Africa.Malawi was actually their best chance at a victory.
Moe you have a point, they may be weak, but I base what I say on the performances in the qualifiers, they were VERY impressive in all their matches except against Rwanda first match and the 1st half against us in Algeria. Even against us in Cairo, I remember they had more chances (most of them from our mistakes) but they still were unlucky to lose 2-0. I consider today that they just imploded from the weight of expectations, the Algerians want them to win the whole tournament so they were under pressure to perform. Anyway, I still need to see them another 2 games to be absolutely sure that they are weak.
Hany I don’t think they were unlucky to lose to 2-0 in Cairo i think they had two sure shots on goal in cairo that they missed but we had abot 4 sure shots on goal that we also missed if we each hit 50% then it would have been 4-1… we had a couple of defensive mistakes but they barely touched the ball…If you look closly at the games the only game that was impressive was the game agaisnt us in algeria. they tied rowanda in rowanda.They were out played by zambia in both games but bad officiating and good luck was on their side there home game against rowanda they dominated but still it took an eighth minute injury time penalty to make the score line impressive and ultimately be the goal to send them to a playoff. the two games against us in cairo and sudan despite our out of normal form we had complete control of both games with 70% possesion they only had a couple of shots on goal and that miracle antar goal was the difference. that and the fact that when they play us its like they are in the world cup championship game. The bottom line Hany I think they were very lucky in the qualification and that happens sometimes a team gets a string of lucky breaks and if the team is not a legitimate strong team then eventually the breaks start to turn and reality sets back in. in other words i believe that the algerian national team is more like the team we saw today than the lucky team we saw in Sudan
But they have two more games we will see the real Algeria… My personal opinion it will be more of the same.
Angola did the same with Nigeria in 2006, they beat Nigeria to qualification to the World Cup, and then got embarrassed here in Egypt in the ACN AND in WC 2006. Nigeria are definitely better than Angola. I know this could be the same scenario repeating itself with us and Algeria. But I’m not entirely sure they are that bad as they were today. Time will tell. I just hope we are not as bad tomorrow against the Super Eagles. If you correct and they play that bad against Mali and Angola I will be the first one to come here and say you are right Moe
My point exactly Hany. I think the system needs some tweeking.It seems like every world cup some weak team has a lucky win and makes it in. last time Like you said Angola and togo this time algeria. If we keep the system the way it is there will always be embarassing teams representing africa and our alotment will never increase.13 euro teams and only 5 african tema plus SA is a joke and unless we can send all our African elite teams to shake up the wolrd cup nothing will change.
Algeria got to the WC because they were consistent in qualifiers. I honestly prefer a team in form to represent africa rather than a “big” name team.
I know Egypt’s qualification went to the wire but Egypt still failed when it mattered, and there is no guarantee that they would be consistent in the WC.
As for Nigeria, they were beat in Angola and drew in Nigeria. They obviously would not be any better in the WC.
Posted from United Kingdom
Kiko it seems I struck a nerve when I said Nigeria are better than Angola since you’re from Angola, If you’ve read what I said about Angola in other topics you’ll find that I really like Angola and respect them, but sorry I certainly think that Nigeria would be better representatives than you in the World Cup, one goal (from the brilliant head of Flavio, I love this guy) in three matches sums it up.
Good Luck against Malawi.
Hany, You missed the point. The idea is that you should support the teams that qualified, you should support Africa.
I just think its sad when people start hating other teams because that particular team eliminated the team they support.
Its good that you mentioned Nigeria because at the time the Nigerian media criticised Angola heavily, encouraged people not to support them, said that they would get beat 5-0 in every match in the WC etc. (and all other sourgrapes crap that goes with it).
All this because we beat them, even though it was fair and square(and with class).
Im starting to see that same trend with Egyptian fans. Please dont do that and support your brothers.
I understand that you are angry that they won when you guys are the African champs. But you already know by now that reputation alone does not win you matches and Algeria were the winners. You guys played 3 times and they won 2.
Because of that alone they deserve to be in the WC. Try and support them. Im not Algerian and I was rooting for Egypt, but I will support Algeria because they will represent the continent in the WC.
Posted from United Kingdom
mr kiko I don’t think you understand the issue.yes Algeria won but it was an undesrved win. We would not have been upset if we lost to a good team a team that would represent African football.do you think we would be this upset if we lost to Cameroon or ivory coast? Of course we would be disapponted but it would not be humiliating. They were completely dominated in Cairo and Sudan and a lucky goal has put this weak team in the world cup.their performance against Malawi just proves what we have been saying all along.btw all non Algerian analysts agree Algeria is not a very good team they just had a bit if a lucky streak.unfortunately luck does not last.algeria’s reality has just appeared.
Kiko there is alot of history between us on the pitch. There are problems between Egypt and every single north african nation when it comes to football. Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria hate us when we play football for some reason eventhough off the pitch we could be best of friends, god knows why.
Yeah I agree with you we should support the African Nations but I can’t really support or respect a team that is driven by hatred and envy, look at their results in the past 2 decades, nothing worhty of notice but when it comes to Egypt they act like men possessed to beat use. Even against Malawi, if they played with half the hatred they spare for us, they would’ve walked all over them. Just watch the difference when we are in the equation and when we are out and you will notice. Good Luck.
By the way Kiko, in the 2006 qualifiers, Ivory Coast beat us home and away (the home match wasn’t in Cario i was played in Alexandria infront 14,000 fans so It didn’t scare them). Yet all of Egypt was supporting them against Argentina, Netherlands and Serbia. And they didn’t disappoint narrowly losing to 2 top teams and defeating Serbia. See my point?
لا يهمنا ان نخسربثلاثية لانني في المونديال….
لا يهمنا ان يتعثر دفاعنا لاننا في المونديال….
لا يهمنا كلامكم و لا نباحكم لاننا في المونديال….
لا يهمنا ضحككم لان من يضحك اولا يبكي اخرا….
اتعلمون مايهمنا اكثر….
اننا كنت الجدار الذي اوقفكم……و ابكا رجالكم قبل اطفالكم….
وحرمناكم … من رائحة المونديال….
المهم عندنا هو اننا فزنا عليكم انتم لاغير….
مبروك لمالااوي من شيمي…..لكن مايهمنا هو انكم
اعترفتم انكم لستم في المونديال…..
ستلعبون افريقيا ثم ترحلون الى بيوتكم….
.اما نحن فلدينا موعد اخر…..مع الكبار….في جنوب
يا كورة (kooora)
خلى المونديال ينفعك , سايب بلدك بتولع و فرحان بالمونديال و كمان بتولعو فى نفسكم من الغيظ و الكره لمصر, ارحمو نفسكم شوية ده مضر لصحتكم و سلملى على الموعد الاخر (: (:
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