CAIRO: Mali coach Stephen Keshi said he would not field any stars in Monday s African Cup of Nations warm-up game against Egypt.
Six-time African champions Egypt will face Mali in the United Arab Emirates in their last game before heading to Angola to defend the title they won two successive times in 2006 and 2008.
A young Mali team will play against Egypt, Keshi told Al-Hayat TV on Sunday.
The regular players will not be available, they are not ready yet. They will not play any matches before the tournament.
The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) were already criticized by some pundits for arranging a friendly against a relatively weak side – Malawi – last week.
The match against Mali was deemed a serious test for the Pharaohs before the biennial tournament but Keshi s announcement might prompt local media to further criticize the EFA.
Egypt open their campaign on Jan. 12 against Nigeria in Group C, which also includes Benin and Mozambique.
Mali play in Group A along with hosts Angola, Malawi and Algeria.