Mohamed Salah will lead Egypt as they kick-off their hunt for an eighth Africa Cup of Nations title when they face Mozambique at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Ivory Coast on Sunday.
The Pharaohs coach Rui Vitoria has handed the Liverpool forward the starting role upfront while Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny will also start. Salah will play alongside former Aston Villa striker Mohamed Trezeguet while between the sticks, Vitoria has preferred Mohammed Elshenawy.
The seven-time champions are clear favourites to get maximum points and take command of Group B, but the Mambas will be aiming at spoiling the party against the Pharaohs, who were beaten in the final two years ago by Senegal on penalties in Cameroon.
Egypt lost only one game throughout the 2023 campaign against Tunisia and they started 2024 positively with a 2-0 victory over Tanzania on January 7. As for their opponents, Mozambique are inexperienced at this level despite participating in four AFCONs; that is, 1986, 1996, 1998, and 2010.
Head-to-Head, Facts and Figures;
● This will be the fourth encounter between Egypt and Mozambique at the AFCON. The previous three meetings all produced a 2-0 group stage victory for Egypt in 1986, 1998, and 2010.
● Mozambique have been drawn in the same group as Egypt for the fourth time in five appearances at the AFCON, including their opener in Abidjan, 31% of Mozambique’s matches at the tournament have taken place against the Pharaohs.
● This is Egypt’s 26th appearance at the AFCON, a record in the history of the tournament. They have won it seven times – more than any other side – and have also reached the final in five of their last six participations.
● Egypt have lost only one of their last 19 group matches at the AFCON (W14 D4); it was a 1-0 defeat against Nigeria in the 2021 edition, which also happens to be the only goal the Pharaohs have conceded in their last 11 group games.
● This will be Mozambique’s fifth appearance at the AFCON, their first since 2010. They have finished bottom of their group in each of their four previous participations.
Egpyt starting XI: Mohammed Elshenawy, Mohamed Hany, Mohamed Abdelmonem, Ahmed Hegazy, Mohamed Hamdy, Hamdy Fathi, Mohamed Elneny, Ahmed Sayed Zico, Mohamed Salah, Mahmoud Trezeguet and Mostafa Mohamed.
Mozambique starting XI: Ernan Siluane, Domingos Macandza, Edson Sitoe, Edmilson Dove, Renildo Mandava, Gildo Vilanculos, Martins, Alfonso Amade, Witiness Quembo, Gasper Pelembe, Stanley Ratifo.