The stage is set for an exhilarating encounter as Egypt locks horns with Mozambique in the Africa Cup of Nations.
With the Pharaohs aiming for their eighth title and Os Mambas featuring in the tournament after a long gap, expectations are high for an intense battle at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium on Sunday.
Although Rui Vitoria has urged caution ahead of AFCON 2023, Egypt is fueled by their losses in the finals of the 2017 and 2021 tournaments.
Led by their talisman, Mohamed Salah, the Pharaohs are determined to end their drought and claim another African title. Salah’s pivotal role will be crucial in determining the fate of the seven-time winners in the competition.
Egypt’s impressive form throughout 2023, with just one loss in a friendly against Tunisia, showcases their strength.
In their tune-up game for the finals, they secured a convincing 2-0 victory over Tanzania on January 7.
Mozambique, although inexperienced at this level, finished second in qualifying and earned a spot in the Cup of Nations after a 14-year absence.
However, their history of not winning a single game in previous editions of AFCON dampens expectations.
Salah, who played a significant part in Egypt’s qualifying campaign with four goals, is expected to lead the attacking lineup alongside Mostafa Mohamed.
Completing the Pharaohs’ formidable attack is Trezeguet, while Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny will anchor the midfield.
Mozambique, on the other hand, has no reported injury concerns and is likely to adopt a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation against the favorites.
Kamal, Hegazy, Abdelmonem, Fatouh;
Ashour, Elneny, Attia;
Salah, Mohamed, Trezeguet
Macandza, Mexer, Malembana, Langa;
Lourenco, Domingues, Clesio;
Prediction: Egypt 3-0 Mozambique
While Mozambique may enter the match with hopes of causing an upset, the superior quality of Egypt’s squad is likely to lead them to a comfortable victory.