Egypt’s national football team kicked off its preparatory camp in Alexandria Sunday ahead of the friendly game against Nigeria.
Egypt will be hosted by Niger in their final African Cup of Nations qualifier 22 March, before facing the Super Eagles away in a friendly match four days later.
“Coach Javier Aguirre kicked off the camp with a meeting with the players, stressing full concentration and doing one’s best effort during the coming 10 days,” the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) reported in a statement on its official Facebook page.
“The first training session of the camp will start later Sunday with the presence of 14 players (the local-based ones),” the statement added.
The Pharaohs, who have already booked a place in Africa’s flagship tournament with one match to spare, are second with 12 points in their qualifying group, level with leaders Tunisia who enjoy a better goal difference.
Egypt was granted the tournament’s hosting rights in January after Cameroon was stripped of those rights in December.
Nigeria also secured a place at the finals as they are currently topping Group E with 10 points.
On 26 February, Aguirre named a 25-man squad for the Niger and Nigeria tests, including 10 new faces while dropping Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah, Aston Villa’s Ahmed Elmohamady and West Bromwich Albion’s centre-back Ahmed Hegazi to allow them to rest.
With the Mexican Aguirre at the helm, Egypt crushed Niger 6-0, defeated eSwatini 4-1 at home and 2-0 away, and dispensed with Tunisia 3-2 via a stoppage-time strike from Mohamed Salah.
The 2019 AFCON is scheduled to take place 21 June to 13 July, having been moved from January/February to avoid club-versus-country clashes.
Egypt won the last of their record seven titles in 2010.
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