After the draw between Ghana and Uganda on Satuday, Egypt’s national football team’s dream to secure a spot in the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup is near.
The Egyptian Pharaohs will meet the Congolese Red Devils in a much-fateful 90-minute confrontation on Sunday, with no option other than winning.
Satuday’s game ended with a draw after a goal by Ghana was cancelled in the last minute.
The game is scheduled to be held at Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria in the presence of 80,000 Egyptian fans.
The team, under the management of Argentinian Coach Hector Cuper, has two scenarios to qualify for the World Cup, ending a 28-year-old block.
Any defeat for the Pharaohs will end up in its exclusion from the qualifiers.
The Egyptian media and public opinion are optimistic voicing greater hope on this generation of players, most of whom are playing in the World Cup qualifiers for the first time. To many Egyptians, simply qualifying is a dream.
Last January, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi attended Egypt’s match against Ghana.
Coach Hector Cuper will depend on a mix of local talents and high-caliber players playing in European clubs, the latter which include Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny, and Stoke City’s Ramadan Sobhy.
Sunday’s game will also witness the absence of several main players, such as Al-Ahly’s midfielder and Saudi-based Moustafa Fathi. Legendary goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, 44, will head the team as the captain. If Egypt qualifies, El-Hadary will set to be the oldest player to enter the tournament.
In 1990, Egypt qualified to the competition in Italy in Group F. With a disappointing performance, the team failed to qualify to the next round. Egypt scored one goal in the tournament by then-Al-Ahly midfielder Magdi Abdel Ghani.
Since 1990, Egypt has attempted to qualify for the World Cup, but has failed under the leadership of several coaches.