Vol.23 No.149

Thursday 5 October 2006    
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Sport
Pharaohs assemble stars for Zebras match

TSHEPO MOLWANE
Staff Writer

10/5/2006 11:13:35 PM (GMT +2)

Egypt has assembled a star-studded squad to meet the Zebras on Saturday in the second round of the 2008 African Cup of Nations qualifiers. The African champions have a line-up of big names like Tottenham Hotspur striker, Ahmed Hossam Hussein commonly known as Mido in football circles; Mohamed Abou Traika from Egyptian powerhouse, Al Ahly and Tarek El-Sayed Mohamed for the Saturday game at the National Stadium in Gaborone.


Temperamental Mido comes for the match with criticism levelled at him by his club coach Martin Jol and Harry Redknapp of Portsmouth still ringing in his ears.

He earned the wrath of the coaches after he was quoted in the media saying that England World Cup veteran Sol Campbell of Portsmouth is the weakest defender he has played against. Both coaches lambasted Mido for acting unprofessionally.

Earlier this year during the African Nations Cup semi-final against Ivory Coast, Mido came under heavy criticism after he protested coach Hassan Shehata's decision to substitute him. It took the intervention of veteran striker, Hossam Hassan to calm him down. But despite the problems he has had with coaches, the killer instincts of the former AS Roma striker have not blunted. With Shehata and Mido having buried the hatchet, the coach will be to the marksman to deliver the goals against the Zebras.

The Egyptians arrive in the country this evening and already, they have sent a stern warning to the Zebras that they should expect a tough game. Team manager Samir Adly told Mmegi Sport that though they respect all their opponents, they are here for serious business. "This game is the beginning of history as we've never played Botswana. So the supporters should expect a good game," Adly said. The Egyp-tians are still on a high after a resou-nding boosting 4-1 mauling of lig-htweights Buru-ndi in their opening AFCON qua-lifier in Cairo.

Botswana Foot-ball Association (BFA) Chief Executive Officer, Thabo 'Styles' Ntshinog-ang has pleaded with fans to come in large numbers to rally behind the Zebras. He said that after the recent poor results, the supporters should not be demoralised, as football is a game of surprises. "There is a possibility that we can get a result against Egypt," he said. Ntshinogang asserted that they are working closely with the Botswana Police on security strategies ahead of the game. To ensure that people have an easy access to the stadium, the gates will be opened at 10am. No alcoholic drinks will be allowed into the stadium. The game is scheduled to start at 3.30pm.

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