Saturday, February 9, 2008

Bios of Egypt/Cameroon Players Ahead of Final


Here, what the press call 'penpix' or bios of the players participating in tomorrow's Egypt-Cameroon African Cup of Nations final. These are provided by Reuters, the wonderful news service.

Should be a very good one!!

First off, Cameroon.

Penpix of Cameroon's squad ahead of Sunday's African Nations Cup final against Egypt:

Goalkeepers:

1-Idriss Carlos Kameni (Espanyol, Spain). Born Feb. 18, 1984. Caps: 35 Goals: 0. Capped first as a teenager, he spent early part of career languishing in the reserves at Le Havre in France before achieving breakthrough in Spain. Hero of the penalty shootout win for Cameroon at the 2000 Olympic Games gold medal match against Spain.

16-Hamidou Souleymanou (Denzilispor, Turkey). Born Nov. 22, 1973. Caps: 15 Goals: 0. First choice at the 2006 Nations Cup finals in Egypt but after Kameni ended a self-imposed exile from the team, Souleymanou lost his place. Made his debut in 2000 in World Cup qualifier against Somalia.

22-Janvier Mbarga (Canon Yaounde). Born Jan. 17, 1985. Caps: 0 Goals: 0. The only home-based player in the squad, called up for the Nations Cup as cover for the first two goalkeepers. Previously played at under-23 level.

Defenders:

2-Augustin Binya (Benfica, Portugal). Born Aug. 29, 1984. Caps: 4 Goals: 0. Only came to the attention of Cameroon officials after Benfica signed him at the start of the season. Handed a six-match ban by UEFA for a vicious tackle in the Champions League against Celtic.

3-Bill Tchato (Qatar SC). Born May. 14, 1975. Caps: 44 Goals: 2. A Nations Cup winner in 2002 who was surprisingly recalled for this tournament three years after his last appearance for Cameroon. His club career includes stops at Nice and Montpellier in France and Germany's Kaiserslautern.


4-Rigobert Song (Galatasaray, Turkey. Pictured above). Born July 1, 1976. Caps: 117. Goals: 4. Cameroon's influential captain was the first player from sub-Saharan Africa to reach the milestone of 100 caps. Made his debut in 1993 and competes in a record-equalling third Nations Cup final on Sunday.

5-Timothee Atouba (Hamburg SV, Germany). Born Feb. 17, 1982. Caps: 38. Goals: 0. Fullback playing in his third successive Nations Cup. Moved from Cameroon to Switzerland, then England's Tottenham Hotspur before going on to play in the Bundesliga.

6-Benoit Angbwa (Saturn Rameskoye, Russia). Born Jan. 1, 1982. Caps: 10 Goals: 0. The only outfield player yet to get a game for Cameroon at these finals. He was also backup at the 2006 edition where he made a single appearance.

8-Geremi (Newcastle United, England). Born Dec. 20, 1978. Caps: 93. Goals: 9. Free-kick specialist who was a winner in 2000 and 2002 finals. This tournament is his sixth Nations Cup.

23-Andre Bikey (Reading, England). Born Jan. 8, 1985. Caps: 14 Goals: 0. Suspended for Sunday's final after receiving red card in the dying minutes of Thursday's semi-final. Played in the 2006 finals while still on the books of Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow.

Midfielders:

7-Modeste Mbami (Olympique Marseille, France). Born Oct. 9, 1982. Caps: 26. Goals: 3. Played at the 2004 finals but a rift with officials cost him a place in Egypt in 2006.

10-Achille Emana (Toulouse, France). Born June 5, 1982. Caps: 15. Goals: 1. A regular for the first time after serving as a reserve at the 2006 finals. Has been on the books of Ligue 1 club Toulouse for eight years.

11-Jean Makoun (Lille, France). Born May. 29, 1983. Caps: 27. Goals: 0. Expected to become the next leader of the new Cameroon generation but has been in disappointing form in Ghana and lost his place in the team. This is his third Nations Cup tournament.

13-Landry Nguemo (Nancy, France). Born Nov. 28, 1985. Caps: 9. Goals: 1. Scored goal on his debut at the start of the qualifying campaign in late 2006 but has played only 45 minutes in Ghana. Came through the junior ranks at Nancy.

14-Joel Epalle (VfL Bochum, Germany). Born Feb. 20, 1978. Caps: 32. Goals: 2. Speedy winger who has spent most of career in Greece. Member of under-23 side that won gold medal at 2000 Sydney Olympics.


15-Alexandre Song (Arsenal, England. Pictured above). Born: Sept. 9, 1987. Caps: 6. Goals: 0. Nephew of captain Rigobert Song, he won one cap in late 2005 but did not play again until new Cameroon coach Otto Pfister watched him in Arsenal's reserves.

19-Stephane Mbia (Stade Rennes, France). Born May. 20, 1986. Caps: 11. Goals: 3. Began his international career at the start of the qualifiers for this Nations Cup. Scored twice in quarter-final win over Tunisia in Tamale last Monday.

20-Paul Essola (Arsenal Kiev, Ukraine). Born Dec. 13, 1981. Caps: 1. Goals: 0. One of four uncapped players in squad. Has had only 13 minutes of action in the group match against Sudan on Jan. 30.

Forwards:

9-Samuel Eto'o (Barcelona, Spain). Born March 10, 1981. Caps: 72. Goals: 29. Three-times African Footballer of the Year and the Nations Cup's all-time leading goal-scorer with 16 in five tournaments since 2000. Eto'o joins Rigobert Song and Geremi in a record-equalling third final.

12-Alain Nkong (Atlante, Mexico). Born April 6, 1979. Caps: 2. Goals: 1. Journeyman plucked from obscurity for this tournament. He scored winner in semi-final victory over hosts Ghana on Thursday. Has played for clubs in Spain, Portugal, Uruguay and the U.S.

17-Mohamadou Idrissou (SC Freiburg, Germany). Born March 8, 1980. Caps: 18. Goals: 1. Tall striker who made debut at the 2003 Confederations Cup in France and played at the Nations Cup finals in Tunisia the following year. Will move from MSV Duisburg to German rivals SC Freiburg next week.

18-Bertin Tomou (Excelsior Mouscron, Belgium). Born August 8, 1978. Caps: 2. Goals: 0. Made debut against Sudan in a World Cup qualifier in 2004 but not called up again until this tournament. Spent eight years playing in South Korea and China before moving to Brest in France and now Belgium.

21-Joseph-Desire Job (Nice, France). Born Dec. 1, 1977. Caps: 50. Goals: 9. French-born striker who chose to play for Cameroon in 1997 and made his debut against England at Wembley. Won a Nations Cup winners' medal in 2000 but has rarely featured for Cameroon in last five years.

And now, Egypt ...

Penpix of Egypt's squad ahead of Sunday's African Nations Cup final against Cameroon:

Goalkeepers:

1-Essam Al Hadari (Al Ahli). Born Jan. 15, 1973. Caps: 82 Goals: 0. Al Hadari has fought a niggling injury but produced several vital saves, notably in Thursday's semi-final against Ivory Coast. Has won all of Africa's top honours at club and national level.

16-Mohamed Abou Moncef (Zamalek). Born Feb. 6, 1977. Caps: 9 Goals: 0. A squad member in the 2006 winning team, he has only played intermittently. His Cairo club have been struggling in domestic competition this season.

23-Mohamed Sobhi (Ismaili). Born Aug. 30, 1981. Caps: 0 Goals: 0. Recently drafted into squad as third choice but yet to win a cap. Has been an Egyptian Premier League regular for the last five seasons.

Defenders:

2-Mahmoud Fathallah (Zamalek). Born Feb. 13, 1982. Caps: 11 Goals: 0. Flying fullback who made his debut in a friendly against Saudi Arabia in 2005. Played in first two matches of this tournament before losing his place after a one-match suspension.

3-Ahmed Al Muhammadi (ENPPI). Born Sept. 9, 1987. Caps: 11 Goals: 0. One of the few additions since Egypt's triumph in 2006. Made debut last year although most of his caps have come as a substitute.

4-Ibrahim Said (Ankaragucu, Turkey). Born Oct. 16, 1979. Caps: 47 Goals: 2. Popular with fans because of his playboy image, he has not played club football this season. A regular in the 2006 team.

5-Shady Mohamed (Al Ahli). Born Nov. 29, 1977. Caps: 21 Goals: 0. Captain of the all-conquering Al Ahli team which reached three successive African Champions League finals from 2005-2007. Made debut for Egypt in 2000 but has played sparingly since, missing out on most of the major tournaments.

6-Hani Said (Ismaili). Born April 22, 1980. Caps: 30. Goals: 0. Played in the 2000 Nations Cup and earned a move to Italy's Serie A before losing his place in the national team. Brought back last year by coach Hassan Shehata and now a regular again.

13-Tarek El Sayed (Zamalek). Born Oct. 9, 1978. Caps: 44 Goals: 5. Playing in his fourth successive Nations Cup but has made only one start. A flying left back surprisingly recalled for these finals after two years out of the team.

14-Sayed Moawad (Ismaili). Born May 25, 1979. Caps: 25 Goals: 0. Started all five matches for Egypt here. Versatile player who can play at left back or in midfield. He made his debut in 2001 but only worked his way back into the squad over the last 12 months.

20-Wael Gomaa (Al Saylia, Qatar). Born Aug. 3, 1975. Caps: 56. Goals: 0. Uncompromising central defender who was an integral part of the 2006 team. He has played in four Nations Cup finals and has two African Champions League winners medals.

Midfielders:

7-Ahmed Fathi (Al Ahli). Born Nov. 10, 1984. Caps: 54. Goals: 2. Made debut a month after his 18th birthday and played in the 2006 Nations Cup final in Cairo. Originally a right back, he is now used as an attacking midfielder.

8-Hosni Abd Rabou (Ismaili). Born Nov. 1, 1984. Caps: 39. Goals: 6. Scorer of four goals here and winner of several man of the match awards. Previously played in France with Racing Strasbourg and now involved in a tug of war between Egypt champions Al Ahli and Ismaili over who owns his contract.


11-Mohamed Shawky (Middlesbrough, England. Pictured above). Born Oct. 5, 1981. Caps: 50. Goals: 3. Key defensive midfielder who missed Thursday's semi-final win over Ivory Coast because of injury. Scored against Cameroon home and away in 2006 World Cup qualifiers.

15-Ahmed Shaaban (Petrojet). Born Oct. 10, 1978. Caps: 2. Goals: 0. Late bloomer on international scene, making his debut last month in a warmup against Namibia. Has not played here.

17-Ahmed Hassan (Besiktas, Turkey). Born May 2, 1975. Caps: 135. Goals: 18. Scored second goal in 1998 Nations Cup final victory over South Africa and named best player of 2006 tournament. Playing in record-equalling seventh Nations Cup.

21-Hassan Mostafa (Al Wehda, Saudi Arabia). Born Nov. 20, 1979. Caps: 25. Goals: 0. Hard-working midfielder who was substitute in 2006 final and played a similar backup role in Ghana. Made debut in 2003 but was not picked again until a year later when Shehata took over as coach.


22-Mohamed Aboutrika (Al Ahli. Pictured above). Born Nov. 7, 1978. Caps: 45. Goals: 12. One of the key men in the march to the final, overcoming a bout of flu at the start. Hit five goals in first six internationals although did not score again for 11 games.

Forwards:

9-Mohamed Zidan (Hamburg SV, Germany). Born Dec. 11, 1981. Caps: 14. Goals: 4. Moved to Denmark as a teenager and then on to the Bundesliga. Scored two goals in opening match of tournament against Cameroon.

10-Emad Moteab (Al Ahli). Born Feb. 20, 1983. Caps: 39. Goals: 15. Made excellent start to international career, scoring seven goals in eight games. Has failed to score here although a consistent goal-getter in Al Ahli's African Champions League successes of 2005 and 2006.

12-Omar Gamal (Ismaili). Born Sept. 16, 1982. Caps: 12. Goals: 0. Backup striker who has not featured at this tournament. All but one of 12 caps have come as substitute.

18-Mohamed Fadl (Ismaili). Born Aug. 12, 1980. Caps: 4. Goals: 2. Scored debut goal that ensured Egypt's qualification for these finals. Yet to appear in tournament.

19-Amr Zaki (Zamalek). Born April 1, 1983. Caps: 39. Goals: 21. Scorer of four goals at these finals including two in the semi-final win over Ivory Coast. Returned to club football in Egypt last year after a brief spell at Lokomotiv Moscow.

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