Egypt coach wary of Gabon threat

Egyptian players celebrate
Egypt's U23 players celebrate a goal in a friendly against Japan in August.

Egypt coach Hani Ramzy says he will be seeking diplomatic assistance in his bid to qualify the nation for its first Olympics since 1992.

On Saturday, the host of Africa's final qualifying round were drawn alongside Gabon, Ivory Coast and South Africa in Group A.

And the former international admits he knows little about the Gabonese team.

"We called our ambassador in Gabon to try to get some DVD's of their games and also their future games," he said.

"Gabon is not easy to get some information about them, but we are searching for the last couple of qualifying games."

He indicated that he will be employing a similar method to learn about his three group opponents for a tournament that runs from 26 November-10 December.

But despite knowing little about the Gabonese, he believes Egypt's first opponents will be the toughest.

"We play Gabon in the first game and it's a very important game for us - I think it will be the most difficult game," he told BBC Sport.

Ramzy's mission to get to London is helped by fielding his Olympic side in the Pharaohs' remaining 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

He fielded his young guns against Sierra Leone earlier this month in Freetown, in a match the hosts won 2-1, and will do the same at home to Niger next month.

"Sierra Leone was a very good experience for the team - to play outside of Egypt under great pressure in bad conditions on the field," explained a man who contested the 1990 World Cup finals.

"Niger also arrive with very good qualification hopes so they come here hoping to win - it will be another good experience for our players."

Regardless of this prepration, Ramzy believes that home advantage may prove significant in a tournament where three of the eight teams qualify.

In Group B, 2008 runners-up Nigeria will meet Senegal as well as North African duo Morocco and Algeria.

While the top three will automatically reach London 2012, the fourth-placed side can qualify if it wins a play-off against a team from Asia.

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