The Pharaohs have won the competition more times than any other team, but their manager insists there is a bigger goal this year
Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz has said that his team would try to win all their matches when the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on January 9, but qualifying for the World Cup remains the team’s objective.
Egypt go into the competition as one of the favourites and in search of a first AFCON title since 2010. The Pharaohs have won the competition a record seven times, two more than the nearest challengers in Cameroon.
The Pharaohs open their campaign on January 11 against Nigeria and will have full confidence in their chances of going all the way with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in their ranks.
The Liverpool winger has been the best player in the world this season and has already stated that Egypt’s mission is to win the title they relinquished in 2012.
However, while Queiroz agrees with Salah, the former Real Madrid coach insists there is a bigger objective for Egypt than winning the AFCON.
“I will only have four days before it. I know that Egypt has a great history in the AFCON, but our goal remains to qualify for the World Cup, Quieroz said via King Fut.
“I was not the one who set qualifying for the World Cup as the main goal for the team.”
“FIFA put the Club World Cup at the same time as the AFCON, and this reflects on the importance of the qualifiers, which will take place by themselves in March.”
But despite targeting a World Cup qualification, Queiroz added that Egypt are not just going to Cameroon to make up the numbers.
The 68-year-old revealed the seven-time AFCON kings would aim to win all their matches as it helps build a winning mentality ahead of the World Cup playoffs in March.
“We have to play better than the team was ten years ago. All the teams that we will face in the tournament are doing better now than they were in 2010. We’re not going to AFCON to take a walk, we are going to win.
“We need a winning mentality, when we win the first game, we will want to win the next match, and so on, this is our mentality.
“I want a stable, strong, and harmonious team that is able to go to the final stage of the qualifiers,” the former Portugal coach added.