CAIRO: Egypt s crucial 1-0 victory at Zambia on Saturday did not assure coach Hassan Shehata that everything was in place to reach the World Cup.
The Pharaohs kept alive their hopes of reaching the most important FIFA tournament when a thunderous second-half shot from Hosni Abd-Rabou gave them a precious victory – their third on the trot.
They hardly impressed though, with Abd-Rabou s goal being the only highlight of their attacking attempts.
Yes we defeated Zambia, but we will not turn a blind eye to our mistakes, Shehata told Egyptian radio after the game.
We were not at our best in the first half. The African champions should play much better.
Egypt hardly moved the ball around due to the pitch s poor condition and sometimes relied on long balls that did them no favors, with striker Amr Zaki isolated upfront.
They notably improved in the second half, especially following the introduction of Ahmed Raouf who partnered Zaki upfront.
The players can be somewhat excused because the pitch was really terrible and the weather was very hot, Shehata added.
The 60-year-old said Egypt players were kept on their toes following the World Cup elimination of the country s U-20 team.
The young Egyptians failed to get beyond the round of 16 on home soil after losing 2-0 to Costa Rica at Cairo Stadium.
Egypt s U-20 defeat mounted further pressure on my team but thankfully we achieved our aim and won the game, he concluded.