Togo will chase an upset away win over Egypt when the teams meet in a Group G clash in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, set for the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday. Kick-off is at 8pm.
Togo head into the clash at the bottom of the standings, having picked up just one point after they were beaten 1-0 at home by Comoros and drew 1-1 away to Kenya in their opening two matches, both played in November 2019.
Head coach Claude Le Roy – who has led the likes of Senegal, Cameroon, DR Congo, Congo, Ghana and Togo at Afcon tournaments – is focusing on the processes, rather than the results, in order to bring the Sparrow Hawks back to their peak of 2006 when they played at the World Cup.
“A new generation has come through, and my objective is to continue working with this group of players,” he explained.
“If the coronavirus had never happened, we would be on the point of finishing a preparatory training programme that we implemented to continue with work that was begun years ago.
“My goal is to help this team to blossom, whether that’s with me or with another coach. My approach always involves leaving solid foundations behind me after I leave.”
The North African heavyweights come into the clash with just two points, having played to 1-1 and 0-0 draws against Kenya (home) and Comoros (away), but Egyptian football is on a major high at present, with their two biggest clubs – Al Ahly and Zamalek – set to meet in the Caf Champions League final later this month.
And any thoughts that tension between players from each club could affect the Pharaohs have been dismissed by coach Hossam El Badry.
“The game between Al Ahly and Zamalek won’t affect the national team, especially after they moved it to the 27th. Players from both sides have really high spirits,” said the former Al Ahly boss.
“Al Ahly and Zamalek’s qualification to the final is very positive and I hope it will benefit the national team.”
Egypt and Togo last met in a friendly in 2017 which ended 3-0 in favour of the Pharaohs, thanks to goals from Mahmoud Kahraba, Ahmed El Sheikh and Mohamed Elneny.
The teams will meet in the return Group G match in Lome on Tuesday, 17 November.