Zidan hails Pharaohs after record win

LUANDA - Egypt striker Mohamed Zidan hailed his generation of Pharaohs as the best after they clinched a record third consecutive African Nations Cup on Sunday.

Egypt, unbeaten in their last 19 matches at the continental tournament, overcame Ghana 1-0 with substitute Mohamed Nagui to thank for a last-gasp winner.

"In the end, the whole world looks at us like champions," Zidan told reporters.

"It is very important for our careers and for us together as a team, I am very proud. It is unbelievable. We have the best Egypt team of all time.

"Now if a team want to break our record, they will have to win it four times in a row and it's almost impossible."

Egypt were pipped by Algeria for a World Cup spot in a playoff last November but they beat four sides bound for this year's finals in South Africa during their victorious campaign.

Consistency was key to that success, according to Zidan and assistant coach Hamada Sedki.

"We have had the same line up very game, the only changes would be because of injuries, that's very important," said Borussia Dortmund striker Zidan.

Sedki, speaking through a translator, explained Egypt winning the Nations Cup but failing to qualify for the World Cup by saying the team were far better in three-week tournaments.

"When we are in a tournament we have all the players with us," he told a news conference.

"We take care of them all the way, we can control everything, health, food, everything. The players are not just coming from their clubs for a few days."

Egypt's free-flowing football, however, was disrupted by a young Ghana team boasting four players from the country's Under-20 World Cup-winning squad.

Neat defending and intense pressure in the midfield could have been enough for Ghana had they taken more chances in attack but with Asamoah Gyan as a lone striker, the task was possibly too tough.

"Our match was very good from the beginning but the most important thing was the result," said Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac, who had to make do without John Mensah, John Paintsil, Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien.

"They had more experience and they scored on our only mistake, when the full back did not cover his base," he added.

FC Basel's Samuel Inkoom, who has been one of the most impressive Ghanaians at the tournament, was nowhere to be seen when Nagui raced down in the box from the left flank to play a swift one-two and fire home with a fine curled shot with five minutes left.

"We had the game under our control, and with how it was developing we were hoping for extra time, but we conceded that goal," said Rajevac.

"It was a good experience before the World Cup anyway."