Egypt needs nothing less than a win to ensure qualification for next year’s World Cup finals.
Following Thursday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat to Uganda in Kampala, the Pharaohs will be eager to make amends by regaining first place on home soil tonight.
Uganda’s victory took them to the top of World Cup Qualification Group E with seven points, causing Egypt to drop to second place with six points. Egypt will need to win all their remaining matches to guarantee themselves a spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Anything less than three points in tonight’s game, and the Pharaohs will have to depend on other results to work in their favour, assuming they win their last two matches and remain top of their group.
Egypt coach Hector Cuper, who has mostly adopted a defensive approach with the national team, hinted to reporters on Saturday that he will go for a more offensive strategy at the Borg El Arab Stadium, according to espnfc.com. “Tuesday's clash will see some modifications in our squad. We will play with a different strategy that needs these modifications.” The former Inter Milan coach assured that Egypt will be going for all three points in the home game.
Emboldened by their victory, Uganda's team the Cranes, have affirmed that they will be aiming for a win in the return match. The Pharaohs’ veteran goalkeeper, Essam El Hadary, sustained a knee injury in Thursday’s shock defeat. And Uganda’s confidence received a major boost after he was ruled out for Tuesday’s game, yet no final confirmation has been made. Egypt’s goalkeeping coach, Ahmed Nagy, has said that Hadary will only be included in the starting eleven if he makes a full recovery, according to kingfut.com. However, he reassured that the rest of Egypt’s goalkeepers are fully ready to face Uganda. Ghanasoccernet.com reported that should Hadary fail the pre-match medical test, Zamalek goalkeeper, Ahmed El Shennawy, will be taking up the gloves.
Likely to also make an appearance tonight are English Premier League wingers, Ramadan Sobhi of Stoke City, and Mohamed Salah of Liverpool. Both players will be pivotal to the Pharaohs’ attacking strategy.
The national team will be determined to win their group to take part in next year’s tournament in Russia after a 28-year hiatus from the competition. Egypt have only made two appearances at the World Cup finals, both hosted by Italy in 1934 and 1990.
Main image: Agence France-Presse.