By Graham Hill
AHMED Elmohamady believes Villa’s promotion winning season is boosting his country’s bid to win the African Cup of Nations.
Egypt skipper Elmohamady scored the only goal as his side beat Tanzania 1-0 in a friendly clash this week.
Now they will face Guinea in their final friendly before the tournament which starts on Friday.
Elmohamady told reporters after the Tanzania game: “The victory is important because it gives the players, the technical staff and fans confidence ahead of AFCON.
“The staff tested few formations and set different scenarios to the game which we could use in the tournament.
“Several players received minutes as well and it’s a good thing especially since not all players are in the same physical shape with the conclusion of the season.
“Sealing Premier League promotion with Aston Villa, Mo Salah’s triumph of the Champions League with Liverpool and Zamalek FC’s Confederation Cup success are all stimuli for the team and the players.
“We’ll try to make the fans happy and replicate the achievement of 2006. Playing in Cairo Stadium has a special feeling and we will try to exploit this advantage.”
But ex-Villa striker Stan Collymore says Elmohamady may have to take a back seat in the Premier League next season.
Boss Dean Smith is clearly looking to boost his full-back options and Collymore tweeted: “Love Elmo, Taylor but I don’t see the engine, legs or strength that modern full-backs need now.
“All for rewarding guys for promotion and all for loyalty, but I’m more for not showing any sentiment. All progressive clubs are ruthless and we must be a progressive club.”