Amr Zaki and Emad Meteb believe that an advanced forward is needed in Bob Bradley’s line-up, following Egypt’s shock defeat to Central African Republic.
A 3-2 home defeat to the African outsiders left Egypt with another possible CAN failure, thanks to a mediocre performance in the opening qualifier in Alexandria.
Coach Bradley’s decision to play without an advanced forward was questioned by many pundits, even though the American guided Egypt to World Cup qualifying wins over Mozambique and Guinea with the same strategy.
He revealed recently that he prefers to play with a false striker upfront; a choice that ruled the likes of Zaki and Meteb out of his options of late.
In Egypt’s previous three games, Bradley mainly relied on deep-lying forwards like Mohamed Abou-Treika, Geddo, Ahmed Temsah, Mohamed Salah and Mohamed Zidan, who scored six goals out of seven between them.
Zaki: Where is Mekki?
“I am now speaking as an Egypt supporter. I think we need a center forward who can play as a target man and receive crosses,” Zamalek and Egypt striker Zaki said.
“I believe that a player like Mekki is a very decent center forward. He played all the warm-up games and has been Egypt’s first-choice striker recently.
“As competitive matches started, Mekki did not play a single minute.
“In the game against Central African Republic, full-backs cannot be blamed because there is no forward to convert their crosses.
“Our play was only positive in midfield and on the flanks, but still I have no center forward.
“Geddo for example is like Abou-Treika, he is not a pure striker. We need someone that we can trust as the main striker of Egypt.
“Abou-Treika, Zidan, Salah and Temsah are all very good players, but their movement comes from deep behind a target man upfront.”
Meteb: Pure striker
“I felt from the beginning that Mr. Bradley prefers to play without a pure center-forward. He relies on three players who are either wingers or run from deep,” Ahli hitman Meteb said.
“I saw this in the game with Mozambique. We played with rotating trio Geddo, Salah and Temsah and even when Zidan came on, I don’t think he is a natural striker.
“Salah and Temsah are still young but both have been very impressive in recent games, even so I think that at times we needed a pure striker to support them or at least experienced substitutes who can do the same role.
“I won’t say we need two or three strikers, but I believe we need a center-forward with two wingers around him. That’s my personal opinion.”
Responding to the question about his attacking preferences, Bradley didn’t seem to be convinced that Egypt’s failure against Central African Republic was down to the frontline.
“I don’t know if the striker is the problem. We scored two good goals tonight and also we had some other very good chances,” he said after the game.
“But we will continue to look at all the players. We are not locked into one system.”
Egypt scored seven goals in Bradley’s first three games in charge as they now need a two-goal-margin win in Bangui to overcome surprise package Central African Republic.