Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon)2019 starts with Egypt vs Zimbabwe on Friday in Cairo at 2200hours CAT.
The Warriors of Zimbabwe who are underdogs in this match have yet to progress beyond the group stage at the Africa Cup of Nations in three previous attempts. In 2017 they finished at the bottom of their group but played well against Algeria.
Zimbabwe qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations courtesy of winning Group G, and in doing so they picked up four points against DR Congo, who they will also face in their final group fixture at the finals.
While the Egyptians have done very well in the past few years, Zimbabweans will fondly remember the early 90s when the Warriors famously booted Egypt out of the 1994 World Cup Qualifiers in the knockout stages(see videos below). Zimbabwe would later on lose to Cameroon with arguably the most gifted team to ever represent the country.
There will be plenty of expectation on host nation Egypt as they start the tournament with a match against Zimbabwe who are the outsiders of Group A.
The form and sharpness of Mohamed Salah is going to be pivotal to Egypt’s chances of going all the way and he showed his importance to the team by coming off the bench to set up two goals in their friendly win against Guinea.
Zimbabwe who have previously beaten Algeria and Ghana at the tournament have some decent players and might have a chance of scoring a goal in the match but a draw will be a big step forward for the Warriors
Goalkeepers: Ahmed El-Shennawy (Pyramids FC), Mohamed El-Shennawy (Al Ahly), Mahmoud Gennesh (Zamalek).
Defenders: Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa), Baher El-Mohamady (Ismaily), Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion), Mahmoud Alaa, Mahmoud Hamdy El-Wensh (Zamalek), Ahmed Ayman Mansour, Omar Gaber (Pyramids FC), Ayman Ashraf (Al Ahly).
Midfielders: Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Ali Ghazal (C.D. Feirense), Nabil Emad Dunga, Abdallah El-Said (Pyramids FC), Walid Soliman (Al Ahly), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Mahmoud Hassan Trezeguet (Kasimpasa), Amr Warda (Atromitos).
Strikers: Ahmed Ali (Arab Contractors), Marwan Mohsen (Al Ahly), Ahmed Hassan Kouka (Olympiacos).
Zimbabwe final squad:
Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane City), Elvis Chipezeze (Baroka) and Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs)
More on ZOOMZimbabwe… Mohamed Salah joins Egypt’s AFCON training camp
Defenders: Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Divine Lunga (Golden Arrows), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Tendai Darikwa (Nottingham Forest), Jimmy Dzingai (Power Dynamos) and Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids)
Midfielders: Talent Chawapihwa (Amazulu), Danny Phiri (Golden Arrows), Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates), Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Kudakwashe Mahachi (Orlando Pirates) and Thabani Kamusoko (Young Africans)
Strikers: Knowledge Musona (Anderlecht), Nyasha Mushekwi (Dalian Yifang), Tinotenda Kadewere (Le Havre), Knox Mutizwa (Golden Arrows) and Evans Rusike (SuperSport United).