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Sports News of Thursday, 31 August 2017


Egypt coach Hector Cuper fires warning to Ghana despite defeat to Uganda

Egypt manager Hector Cuper has told jubilant Ghana fans that the World Cup qualifiers are not over yet and that his side have nine remaining points to fight for following the shocking 1-0 defeat to Uganda in Kampala on Thursday.

The shock defeat in Kampala threw Black Stars supporters in buoyant mood as the result threw the group wide open with all sides with a good chance of qualifying for the tournament in Russia.

Going into the game looking for a much-needed win to cement their position on top of Group E, a lackluster Egypt eventually surrendered the summit to Uganda who went clear one point on top, courtesy of a 51st-minute Emmanuel Okwi strike.

Despite the happy mood of Ghanaian fans the Egypt boss says no one can be jubilant at this juncture with three matches left.

"The qualifiers are not over yet, we still have nine points to fight for," Cuper said in the post-match press conference.

"We tried more than one formation and fielded many attackers, but we could not still get a better result."

Cuper started the game with an unusual 4-4-2 formation that featured both Mohamed Salah and Mahmoud Kahraba upfront, with Mahmoud 'Trezeguet' and Abdallah El-Said occupying the flanks.

Having failed to pose threat on goal, the ex-Valencia boss reverted to his tried-and-tested 4-2-3-1 format after nearly 30 minutes, with Salah going out wide and El-Said shifting into a playmaker role.

When asked about the reason behind his decision to field natural winger Kahraba upfront, Cuper said he hoped the Ittihad Jeddah on-loan forward's technical attributes would help him forge a fine strike partnership with Salah.

"Kahraba is a talented player. He could make a fine strike partnership with Salah," Cuper said.

"As an out-and-out striker, Kahraba played well in the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon also.

"The players today had a day off; it's easy to criticize them after defeats. We'll be looking to make sure we make up for our mistakes in the upcoming games."

Egypt, who bid to make their first World Cup appearance since 1990, host Uganda at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium on Tuesday.

Ghana will face Congo on Friday and a victory for the Black Stars in Kumasi will boost their hopes of reaching the competition in Russia.

Only the group winners will reach next year's World Cup finals in Russia.