Egypt's Hossam Hassan ready for 'distinguished' New Zealand

Egypt’s new boss Hossam Hassan has reaffirmed the importance of the New Zealand clash in the Egypt International Capital Cup.

The Egypt International Capital Cup will be held in Cairo and the New Administrative Capital on 22, 23, and 26 March, involving hosts Egypt, Croatia, New Zealand, and Tunisia.

The Pharaohs will host New Zealand in the semi-final, which will become the first-ever game to be played at the newly built New Administrative Capital Stadium, holding a capacity of over 93,940 seats.

The game will also be Hossam Hassan’s first in charge of the Pharaohs after taking over the helm of the national team back in February.

Speaking ahead of the game, Hassan said: “I decided to take part in the Capital Cup for many reasons, especially since it was scheduled to be held in the Emirates.

“The tournament is crucial for us, especially as it marks the first experience for the new coaching staff of the Egyptian national team. It is the first gathering of the team with the current group of players, and it serves as the final test before the upcoming international break, during which we will participate in the World Cup qualifiers.

“What’s most important for me is to achieve harmony between the coaching staff and the players, and to make the most of the technical benefits and convey my ideas to the players.

“The players’ level in the national team is close, and the advantage will be for those who quickly grasp my ideas. We aim for the team’s performance on the pitch to be different, and for the fans to notice that.

“Results are very important to me, especially from a morale perspective, to achieve maximum morale benefit and to make the fans feel an improvement in the team’s level.

“The New Zealand team is very distinguished, with many players in Europe. In set pieces, they resemble some African teams, but their level is much better. They are a strong team, and we aim to win the match and qualify for the final.

“We always seek to play against strong and prominent teams. This is the approach I followed previously with Jordan, aiming to reach a higher level.

“I welcome all the criticism of the team under my leadership, but I reject anything that attempts to disrupt the team’s stability because Egyptian football cannot withstand more than that.

“I don’t want any player to feel that they have secured their place in the squad in the upcoming camps. Where is the passion in that? Every player should wait to see their name on the roster. Any player who is ready, outstanding, and whose level everyone agrees on will join the Egyptian national team.”