Hany Ramzy tips Egypt to reach 2014 Brazil World Cup
Egypt Olympic coach Hany Ramzy has tipped the next generation of Pharaohs stars to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
A 3-0 loss to Japan in Saturday's quarter-final at Old Trafford ended Egypt's challenge at London 2012 after defender Saadeldin Saad was shown a red card in the first half.
But Ramzy, who selected experienced trio Mohamed Aboutrika, Emad Meteab and Ahmed Fathi as his over-age players for the tournament, believes there are still plenty of positives to be taken from their campaign.
"Even after the sending off we tried to get back into the game. It was very hard for us but I'm still proud of my team - everyone gave 100%," he told BBC Sport.
"They are still young and must now try to learn from this experience. This generation can go to the World Cup in 2014."
Egypt sit top of their qualification group for the 2014 World Cup, having beaten Mozambique and Guinea in their two games so far.
They will be hoping 20-year-old striker Mohamed Salah, who scored three goals in the group stages at London 2012 but was forced off against Japan with injury, can continue his rich vein of form.
Salah has recently joined Swiss side FC Basel, while giant defender Ahmed Hegazi, 21, has just signed for Italians Fiorentina.
And former Pharaohs defender Ramzy, who spent more than 15 years playing for clubs in Switzerland and Germany, believes the moves can only be a good thing.
With the disruption to the domestic league still ongoing following the Port Said tragedy back in February, Ramzy believes it is essential that more Egyptian players can join Salah and Hegazi.
"I hope in the future that more of our players go to Europe. It will give them full professional lives and would definitely help the national team," he said.
"Salah could be the star of the future. But we also have a lot of talented players in our team like [Mohamed El] Neny and Hegazi so we hope that they can become a great Egypt team."
Al Ahly stars Aboutrika, Meteab and Ahmed Fathi were part of the senior Pharaohs squads that won three successive African Nations Cup titles between 2006 and 2010. They were given special dispensation to remain with the Olympic squad despite Ahly's CAF Champions League clash with Berekum Chelsea on Saturday.
But while Meteab is still set to decide whether to retire from international football after an indifferent tournament, 33-year-old playmaker Aboutrika has no intention of hanging up his boots just yet and paid tribute to his young team's performance at London 2012.
"No, of course not. It's not the last time I will play for Egypt," he said.
"I'm part of this team and I am always very proud to wear the Egyptian shirt. It has been very difficult with the league being suspended and it has had an effect on us.
"But we managed to achieve a good level of football here despite everything. What happened in Port Said was tragic and it was very hard for players to return to playing but we have come back. I'm very proud of the team."