LONDON: Javier Aguirre already knows up to 90 percent of his African Cup of Nations squad, according to his Egypt assistant coach Hany Ramzy.
The Pharaohs face Niger in their final AFCON qualifier tomorrow, with qualification guaranteed, before facing Nigeria in a friendly three days later.
Both matches are effectively warm-up clashes for the tournament in Egypt this summer, and coach Aguirre is now thinking more about tactics than personnel.
“Aguirre has settled on 80-90 percent of the names that will join our squad at the African Cup. We feel comfortable about this,” Ramzy told King Fut website.
For this weekend’s matches Aguirre has left his big-name players such as Mohamed Salah and Ahmed Hegazi at home so he can have a look at some of those on the fringe of the squad. A tough match is expected in Nigeria and that could be the last chance some have to impress the Mexican coach, with the final squad announcement expected in two months.
“(The final squad) will involve a bigger vision after we have seen the new faces play at this camp,” Ramzy said.
“The Niger and Nigeria matches are a chance to examine new faces that could have a role in the African Cup, especially as they will play under a lot pressure against Nigeria.
“We want to give the youth players a chance, and also to prepare and provide them with the experience of preparatory camps, even if they aren’t selected for the tournament.”
After last year’s World Cup disappointment, when Salah and Co lost all three matches in Russia, there will be a lot of pressure on the Pharaohs to do well in front of their expectant fans.