Egypt and Mali U-20 men’s teams shared spoils in their goalless opening match at the National Heroes Stadium, leaving hosts Zambia to lead the Group A of the 2017 Total U-20 Africa Cup of Nations after they defeated Guinea 1-0 in the game played earlier.
FC Liefering striker Patson Daka's second half strike gave Zambia all three points but both Egypt and Mali coaches, Gamal Abdelaziz and Bayer Ba respectively, were left unfazed as they expected to perform better in their next matches.
Ba told supersport.com that Egypt were a very tough opponent in the opening match but promised his charges will bounce back in the second match against Zambia.
“We played a very difficult opponent in Egypt and looking at the temperature and the rain it was tough to adapt but we are happy with a draw,” he said.
“We used today to adapt to the pitch, so in the next match against Zambia we will be better used to the surface.”
And Abdelaziz said dropping points in the opening match against Mali was not the end of the journey in the Total U-20 Africa Cup.
Abdelaziz said the Young Pharaohs will fight to accumulate three points in their next match against Guinea on Wednesday.
“We wanted to win this match but losing two points is not the end of the journey, you also have to note that the weather did not make the pitch to be in the best condition,” he said.
“We lost two points, but we can also say that we gained a point from the match which was a difficult game.”
The Egyptian trainer hailed the electric atmosphere at the Heroes Stadium thanking the host fans for turning out in numbers.
“We saw there were a lot of fans supporting the teams which is very good. I would like to thank them for creating such a wonderful atmosphere,” he said.
Egypt will play Guinea on Wednesday in a 15h00 kickoff ahead of Zambias match with Mali.