Egypt begin bid for Nations Cup hat-trick

LUANDA - Egypt begin their quest for an unprecedented third successive African Nations Cup title in Benguela on Tuesday when they meet Nigeria in their opening Group C match.

It is a tough start to the tournament for the 2006 and 2008 winners, who are still smarting after narrowly losing out on a World Cup place after November's bruising playoff with Algeria.

Egypt also have to contend with the absence through injury of several key players but are still regarded among the favourites for the title at the three-week tournament in Angola.

Both Benin and Mozambique, who meet in the second Group C match in Benguela on Tuesday, have more modest ambitions, seeking to win a first-ever match at a finals tournament.

Benin have lost all six games at two previous tournaments while Mozambique's record is one draw and eight defeats in three previous finals appearances.

Tuesday's two matches follow a drama-filled Monday on which World Cup finalists Algeria and Ivory Coast failed in their bid to get off to a winning start at the Angola tournament.