World Cup failure motivation for Egypt
Assistant coach Shawky Gharib revealed failure to qualify for the World Cup was Egypt's biggest motivation to succeed at the African Nations Cup after they clinched their third consecutive title in Luanda on Sunday night.
The Pharaohs had Mohamed Gedo to thank for their latest crown after the substitute scored the only goal five minutes from time to help clinch a narrow 1-0 win over a brave Ghana, but it was just reward for Hassan Shehata's team following a disappointing past few months in which they failed to qualify for the World Cup after a play-off defeat to Algeria.
"Our strategy was to win all the matches," said Gharib after his side made it six wins from six. "We played to win because we didn't qualify for the World Cup."
He added: "We said we were the champions from the first day we arrived in Angola and that we would defend our title. It's important to take your chance and we took ours."
Apart from the victory being a third on the spin after their triumphs on home soil in 2006 and in Ghana two years later, it was also a seventh overall title for the Egyptians, and Gharib conceded it was the toughest of the lot.
He continued: "We have won three titles - in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
"This competition was the most difficult we have ever played because we played four World Cup teams (Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria and Ghana)."
Egypt, who had scored 14 goals and conceded only two heading into the title decider at the Estadio do Novembre 11, were made to work extremely hard to eventually clinch victory.
Their overall display saw five players represented in the team of the tournament - goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, defenders Ahmed Fathy and Wael Gomaa, captain Ahmed Hassan as well as striker Mohamed Zidan - while Gedo, the competition's top scorer with five goals, only did enough to earn a place among the substitutes.
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