Lack of friendly matches weigh upon Egyptian preparation for World League
The Egyptians will play two games against Iran and the winner will challenge Japan in Round 2.
The selected team includes: Ahmed Abdalla, Ashraf Aboulhassan and Hossam Youssef (Setters); Ahmed Abdelatif, Rashad Attia, Mohamed Ketat and Mohamed Ali Seifelnasr (Centers); Mohamed Badawy, Ahmed Youssef, Mohamed Moustafa and Saleh Youssef (Attackers); Ahmed Abdelhay and Reda Heikal (Opposites); and Wael Alaydy (Libero).
The main difficulty for the Egyptian coach is a lack of proper preparation and friendly matches. Abdel Aziz took responsibility for the squad after the World Olympic Qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria, last June, where Egypt finished in the third position at the four-nation tournament and missed an Olympic ticket. Due to the stoppage of the local league, the players were out of their technical form in the off-season.
Since that Olympic qualifier, the Egyptian team hasn’t played any friendly matches. This situation has pushed the coach to depend on veteran players who have previous experience in international competitions.
“We worked very hard in the last three weeks to get the team into top performance shape before the first match against Iran,” said Abdel-Aziz. “We will depend on some tactical matches between the players to make up for lack of friendly matches. We also followed the Iranian team’s last matches to study their players – especially their last match against Egypt in the 2011 World Cup where the Iranians won in straight sets.”