Interview

'Penalties are just in the hands of the gods'

Mo Elneny admits Egypt’s defeat in the Africa Cup of Nations final on penalties was tough to take.

Our midfielder was a star performer for the Pharaohs at the tournament in Cameroon, but could not prevent them missing out as Senegal lifted the trophy.

“The Africa Cup of Nations is always something special, for us and the people in Egypt, for the kids who are waiting for it every two years,” Elneny told Arsenal Media. 

“They were really excited, all my team-mates as well - no one had won it one time [personally]. We won the most titles in Africa, we won it seven times. This makes me want to win it at least one time because we reached the final two times but unfortunately we didn't win.
 
"I’m really, really proud of my team. [In the knockout stages] we went 120 minutes for three games before the final and this isn’t something I think so many teams can do. There’s no recovery actually, it’s just one day to recover. It’s something I’m really, really proud of my team [for].

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"Of course it makes me sad when I remember this game, we gave everything. We got to penalties as well, but we know penalties is just in the hands of the gods. No one knows what is going to happen with penalties.
 
"When we saw the fans when we got back to Egypt, when I listened to my family, I saw how proud they are of us. This makes us [feel] a little bit nice inside because we were broken after the game."

Elneny's superb performances for Egypt saw him named in the AFCON team of the tournament, and he says this was some consolation for him.

"I am really happy to be one of the [best XI]," he said. "This shows how hard I work, how hard I work every day in training. 

"Of course every day I want to improve myself, in training, in the games, this is what I love every day, to try to improve myself, to be better every day."

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