Aston Villa ever-present Ahmed Elmohamady captained his Egypt national side in the opening AFCON game this evening.
Words by Regan Foy | @FindFoy
Imagine captaining your national side. The stuff of dreams right?
Now imagine captaining your national side, at one of the biggest tournaments outside of the World Cup that your country can compete in, the African Cup of Nations. Even better.
Now imagine all of that, but with the added fact that your national side, Egypt, is also the host nation.
Ahmed Elmohamady, winning his 89th cap, named alongside the likes of Mohammed Salah and Trezeguet, lead his country out at the opening game of the tournament as Egypt faced Zimbabwe.
Within the first twenty or so minutes, Elmohamady looked to be in a similar vain that he would in an Aston Villa shirt, racing down the right-hand side, overlapping other wide players, and whipping the trademark balls into the box that saw him rack up a number of assists in the past season.
Ahmed Elmohamady could have given Egypt the lead just after the half hour mark, as he attempted to jump high to meet a corner – but his team-mate, Mahmoud Alaa, pushed him in an attempt to reach the ball himself, and the connection could not be made.
Egypt broke the deadlock with five minutes to go before the end of the first half, as Trezeguet found the ball on the left-hand edge of the box, before cutting inside and curling the ball into the bottom right corner.
Ahmed Elmohamady continued his fine passing in the second half, playing a great ball into Mossen, who controlled the ball well before stretching too far and colliding with the Zimbabwean keeper.
The game lulled a bit, but the atmosphere at the game did not, as the fans around the stadium pulled their mobile devices out and lit up the crowds in the Cairo dusk.
Zimbabwe didn’t look too bad of a team, with linked midfielder Marvelous Nakamba operating in their midfield, and really it was individual errors that let the away side down.
Overall, the hosts were underwhelming in the opening game – but ran out deserved 1-0 winners, with Elmohamady one of the stand-out performers for a lacklustre Egyptian side.