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Gamal Abdelaziz @ SS com
Gamal Abdelaziz @ SS com

Egypt, Guinea and Mali jostle for U20 Afcon semis spot

With hosts Zambia already assured of finishing top in Group A of the 2017 Total U-20 Africa Cup of Nations the focus will be on Egypt, Mali and Guinea who all remain in the hunt for a semi-final place which is available to the team which will finish in second position in the group.

An intriguing match between Mali and Guinea takes place at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium with the winner qualifying for the semi-finals should Egypt lose to Zambia at the National Heroes Stadium. Egypt will qualify automatically should they defeat Zambia regardless of what happens in Ndola.

Both Guinea and Mali sit on a point apiece after losing to Zambia and drawing their matches with Egypt, although the Guineans boast of a better goal difference.

Guinea will look to Mamadou Toure and Alseny Soumah to conjure something upfront against their West African opponents while Mali coach Baye Ba will be looking to Sekou Koita to inspire his teammates upfront.

The winner of the match between Mali and Guinea will hope that Egypt do not win against Zambia.

Egypt coach Gamal Abdelaziz told the media that his team held its fate in its own hands and needed to defeat favourites Zambia in order to earn automatic qualification to the semi-finals on Saturday.

Abdelaziz took pride in the fact that his team had yet to lose a match while hoping that skipper Karim Hassan led the North African side to victory to finish on five points that could earn them a second place finish.

He laid his cards on the table saying the match against Zambia was a must win.

“We have no option but to win against Zambia. It does not matter how strong the Zambians are,” said Abdelaziz.

Meanwhile Zambia U-20 Coach Beston Chambeshi is expected to make changes but ruled out any possibility of fielding a weakened side when he announces his starting list on Saturday.

Chambeshi advised his players to stay focused on the back of their 6-1 victory and has demanded consistency from all his charges.

“We will play Egypt and they are a good side. We will go full throttle with them so that we collect maximum points because we want to finish the group stage on a perfect note.

“We are already in the semi-finals but that does not mean we cannot focus on our next match. We are fully focused on the match with Egypt because as I said earlier, we want to finish the group stage on a good note.

“We have a strong team and I believe in all my players so whoever is going to play is capable of delivering,” Chambeshi said.







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