Egypt host what is now a significant tournament comprising 16 teams in four groups kicking-off with EgyptÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s opener against Libya on January 20 through to the final on February 10.
FIFA rules require that players are released by their clubs two weeks before the tournament starts but at a meeting between Damien and Mr Zaher, President of the Egyptian FA, agreement was reached allowing Mido to remain in the UK for our Premiership clash at Manchester City on January 4 before flying out for EgyptÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s friendly against Nigeria on January 9 and then returning for our trip to Anfield on January 14.
Mido will then fly back to Egypt for the duration of the tournament Ã¢â‚¬â€ he could be back with us after EgyptÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s last group game on January 28, the quarter-finals on February 3/4, semi-finals on February 7, third/fourth place play-off on February 9 or final on February 10.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are appreciative of the understanding of the Egyptian FA,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Damien. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They have taken into account both the interests of the players and our Club. There was an excellent spirit of co-operation.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Egypt face a tough-looking group in Cairo as they take on the Ivory Coast Ã¢â‚¬â€ home of ChelseaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Didier Drogba and ArsenalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Kolo Toure and a team that beat them in recent World Cup qualifiers, Noureddine NaybetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Morocco and Libya. They need to finish in the top two of the group to progress.
Sporting Director Damien Comolli has thanked the Egyptian FA for their co-operation after reaching agreement for Mido to be available for our games against Manchester City and Liverpool prior to the start of the African Nations Cup.