Egypt makes a debut in the history of the African Nations Championship (CHAN), when they entertain Morocco in a North Zone first leg clash on Sunday, 13 August 2017, in Alexandria.
The Pharaohs have never taken part in the qualifiers of the tournament designed exclusively for footballers who play in their domestic leagues, since its inception in 2009. This is despite the fact that the core of the Egyptian national team has been locally-based players.
This term, the Pharaohs are making their debut in the qualifiers, and will be hoping to overcome rivals Morocco in their quest for a first ever participation at next year's finals, scheduled from 12 January to 4 February in Kenya.
But the journey for the Pharaohs is no rosy. Big guns Al Ahly and Zamalek have refused to release their players for the two-legged match against Morocco, with other clubs following suit, a situation which forced iconic ex-captain Hany Ramzy to reign as Head Coach.
Following the unexpected exit of Ramzy, a legendary figure at German club, Kaiserslautern and capped over 120 times at the national level, U-20 coach Hamada Sedki has been drafted in temporarily for the two games against Morocco.
Sedki has been faced the same old problem with matters worsened with the withdrawal of players by Port Said based El Masry, who face Ahly in the Egyptian Cup final on Tuesday, 15 August 2017 in Alexandria.
One of the assistants of the legendary coach Hassan Shehata, when Egypt won a treble of Africa Cup of Nations titles (2006, 2008, 2010), Sedki remains upbeat about his side's chances in this weekend's clash against Morocco.
"We have to do our work whatever the obstacles are. It's never going to be easy, but we will play to the last hoping to record a good result," Sedki told the media during the week.
The return leg will take place on Friday, 18 August 2017 in Rabat, with the Atlas Lions hoping for a third successive appearance at the final tournament after 2014 (South Africa) and 2016 (Rwanda).
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