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Egypt bid to outwit Cameroon again


Latest update : 2008-02-09

Holders Egypt already beat Cameroon at the 1998 African Nations Cup final and during the first round of this year's edition. Yet with Pharaohs and Lions fielding opposite styles, Cameroon legend Roger Milla predicts an uncertain outcome.

Holders Egypt are hoping their South American playing style will bring them success in the African Nations Cup final against Cameroon on Sunday.

Most of Egypt's squad are home-based players but their free-flowing passing game has been lethal and they are confident
of beating Cameroon again after winning in the 1998 final.

The Pharaohs, aiming to win a sixth Nations Cup, thrashed hot favourites Ivory Coast 4-1 in the semi-final in a reprise of
the final they won two years ago on penalties in Cairo.

Egypt have shown in Ghana that their 2006 title, largely attributed to the advantage of playing at home, was no fluke.

Four-time champions Cameroon, the last side to retain the trophy in 2002, witnessed their opponents' style at close
quarters when they lost 4-2 to them in their opening game.

However, the West Africans believe they have improved and showed a heart of steel to beat Tunisia and Ghana en route to
Sunday's game at the Ohene Djan stadium (1700GMT).

"After the first defeat (against Egypt) we made the changes we needed to get back in the tournament," said Cameroon coach Otto Pfister, who hinted that all the pressure was on Egypt.

"We will go into this final very relaxed. Being at this stage in a continental competition is quite something. If we win, very good, if we lose, well, it's not a drama."

The Indomitable Lions will be without defender Andre Bikey, who was shown a straight red card for shoving a medical
assistant in the last minute of Thursday's 1-0 win over Ghana.



However, Cameroon believe they can rely on their substitutes to help them take the Cup back to West Africa.

"There is no such thing as a first-choice lineup. It's Africa. With the weather, the players just cannot play on and on," said Pfister, who has 25 years of experience in African football, coaching Zaire, Tunisia, Ghana, Egypt and Togo.

"The players on the bench are very strong mentally. It is very important in a three-week tournament."

Cameroon have raw power and plenty of experience, with captain Rigobert Song, striker Samuel Eto'o and midfielder
Geremi about to play in their third Nations Cup final.

Eto'o will aim to improve his Nations Cup scoring tally from a record 16 goals after failing to net in the knockout phase
following a double against Sudan in Cameroon's last group game.

Egypt also have experience -- captain Ahmed Hassan played in the last final and scored in the 1998 decider -- and are
confident of retaining the title 22 years after handing Cameroon their only final defeat in the tournament's history.

"But the most important thing is that we play with our minds. First of all, we think about what we are going to do on the pitch," said assistant coach Shawky Gharib.

"Now, we will win the final."

Possible teams:

Egypt - 1-Essam Al Hadari; 5-Shady Mohamed, 6-Hani Said,
20-Wael Gomaa, 14-Sayed Moawad; 8-Hosni Abd Rabou, 17-Ahmed
Hassan, 7-Ahmed Fathi, 22-Mohamed Aboutrika; 10-Emad Moteab,
19-Amr Zaki

Cameroon - 1-Idriss Carlos Kameni; 8-Geremi, 2-Augustin
Binya, 4-Rigobert Song, 5-Timothee Atouba; 10-Achille Emana,
15-Alexandre Song, 19-Stephane Mbia; 21-Joseph-Desire Job,
17-Mohamadou Idrissou, 9-Samuel Eto'o

Date created : 2008-02-09