Olympics football: ‘They have many first-team players’ – Egypt’s Gharib on Spain draw

Written By Shina Oludare
Shawky Gharib

Coach Shawky Gharib has stated he was pleased with Egypt’s performance in their opening encounter against Spain at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The Europeans went into the Group C encounter played at the Sapporo Dome as favourites. From the blast of referee Adham Makhadmeh’s whistle until the end, they dominated ball possession.

They came close to scoring when Dani Ceballos hit the goalpost from range, albeit, the African team scarcely threatened goalkeeper Simon Unai. At the end of full-time, it ended 0-0 in Sapporo.

In his post-match reaction, the Young Pharaohs’ boss is content with the result while ruing his team’s inability to play competitive matches for a long time.

“We haven’t played non-friendly matches for a long time; I was worried about that before the game,” Gharib told beIN SPORTS per Kingfut.

“For the first game for the overage players with the team, and the first game in the Olympic games, I am content with the result.

“We improved a lot in the second half of the game, during the first half we made a lot of missed passes, after the half-time break we made progress on the offensive side.

“We were facing the European champions, after all, they have multiple first-team players among their ranks, one point is a satisfying result.”

Thanks to this result, Egypt are joint second in the group alongside Jose Luis de La Fuente’s team.

The African side would be eyeing their first win of the competition when they take on 2008 gold medalists, Argentina.

The South Americans began their expedition on a sour note – losing 2-0 to Australia – with Lachlan Wales and Marco Tilio finding the net.

Egypt picked one of the tickets to represent Africa having emerged as champions of the 2019 U23 Africa Cup of Nations.

Since making their debut at Antwerp 1920, the North Africans have featured in the men’s football event 12 times.

Their best outing remains a fourth place finish at Amsterdam 1928 and Tokyo 1964. In Japan, they would be aiming to become the third African team to win a gold medal after Nigeria (1996) and Cameroon (2000).

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