Hassan: Strong start is vital
The Pharaohs, who will be bidding for their seventh continental crown and third in succession, begin their participation in the 10-31 January competition next Tuesday in Benguela.
They opened their victorious campaign two years ago with an emphatic 4-2 win over Cameroon, and Al-Ahly midfielder Hassan is keen for a repeat.
"Opening games are always very important," the captain said. "Our match against Nigeria will show how we will perform in the following matches, just like the 2008 tournament."
As for the strength of their west African opponents, Hassan added: "Nigeria are a strong team, but we are now familiar with all African teams."