The Egyptians would be looking to start strong, as they attempt to put to rest the ghosts of their disappointing Russia 2018 campaign. They finished bottom of a World Cup group considered weak by many.
That disappointment ushered in coach Javier Aguirre, and his Egyptian setup is considered a very potent goal-scoring threat because in their last 8 games they scored 20 goals. This Egyptian team seems the real deal, and they are tipped to go all the way.
The last time Egypt hosted AFCON, they won it and went on to defend the title on two successive occasions. They are in a fairly easy group this year, also comprised of Zimbabwe, DR Congo, and Uganda. They are expected to pick up the maximum 9 points on their way to the round of 16.
The Warriors of Zimbabwe have a dismal AFCON record, to say the least. In all three appearances (2004, 2006, 2017), they crashed out at the group stage. The most they have gotten is a draw 2 years ago against Algeria during their group stage opener.
In their last tune-up friendly, they managed to keep the Super Eagles of Nigeria quiet, and that demonstrated their ability to keep things tidy at the back. That's one trick they will need to have handy if they are to navigate a group consisting of nations ahead of them in the FIFA pecking order.
In 14 previous meetings against Zimbabwe, the Pharaohs of Egypt have been winners 8 times, including the last 4, losing twice. The Egyptians have also never tasted defeat on home soil against the Warriors, and in each of their last 4 fixtures, they scored more than once, conceding just a goal in total.
Although the Warriors of Zimbabwe may prove to be resilient at the start, expect the Egyptian firepower to be more than they can handle, with the irrepressible Mohamed Salah & the veteran Marwan Mohsen set to orchestrate proceedings up front.
Final score: Egypt 2-0 ZimbabwePublished 21 Jun 2019, 19:47 IST