Egypt will clash with Tunisia in the final of the 2020 African Men’s Handball Championship on Sunday. Hosts Tunisia were the main title favourites for many reasons, the most important of which is the situational factor of audience support and the broad experiences and capabilities of the Tunisian team.
The 16-team championship acts as the African qualifying tournament for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and 2021 World Men’s Handball Championship in Egypt. The best three teams of the 2020 African Championship will qualify for the Men’s World Championship, while the winner of the tournament will directly qualify for the Olympic Games.
Egypt played Algeria 30-27 in the semi-finals, while Tunisia swept Angola 39-23 on 24 January.
The Carthage Eagles are the most crowned in Africa with 10 titles, the last of which was in 2018 at the expense of Egypt, followed by Algeria with seven titles and Egypt with six titles.
Moamen Safa, the Egyptian Handball Federation’s treasurer and supervisor of the national teams and head of the current mission in Tunisia, affirmed that the team reached the best technical and physical condition, and there is great insistence to continue the journey and win the Tokyo ticket.
The team supervisor makes it a point to meet with the team that they calm down and not respond to any provocation from the hosts, and to keep control of the game from the very beginning.
Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhy met with the national handball team after the semi-final victory, where he praised their performance and encouraged them to win the championship.
Sobhy promised the players big financial rewards in the event of winning the title, as was the case after beating Algeria.
Egypt had a special run in the tournament. Led by coach Roberto García Parrondo, Egypt topped Group A with six points, and qualified to quarter-finals for the 24th time. In the last eight, Egypt also had the first place in Group I, beating Gabon 36-17, and Angola 33-26.
Egypt’s squad includes 21 players: Karim Handawy, Mohamed Ali, and Mohamed Essam as goalkeepers; Mohamed Hesham, Ibrahim El Masry, Wesam Samy, Ahmed Adel, and Khaled Walid as fullbacks; and Ahmed Al-Sayed, Dodo, Seif El-Daraa, and Ahmed Khairy as circle runners. In addition, Ali Zain, Yehya El-Daraa, Hassan Walid, Omar Bakkar, Ahmed Safa, Mohamed Sanad, and Akram Yousry play as wingers; and Ahmed Al-Ahmar, Yahya Khaled, and Mohsen Ramadan as centres.
Arab teams dominated the championship in its last 23 editions, starting from 1974 in Tunisia. The Carthage Eagles are the most crowned of the championship with 10 titles, most recently in 2018 in Gabon. Algeria ranked second with seven titles, followed by Egypt with six titles, most recently in 2016.