Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1301, (23 - 29 June 2016)
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1301, (23 - 29 June 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Only in Africa

Egypt is facing uncertainty in its seeding for the World Cup qualifiers, reports Marawan Zayed

Al-Ahram Weekly

African football has always been known for terrible organisation and corruption in particular. Now we find our national team facing uncertainty in its seeding for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers as the terrible system and organisation of the CAF strike again.

In the last few months Hani Abo Reida, FIFA executive committee member, stressed that Egypt will “certainly and without doubt” be one of the top seeded countries in the draw, with the national team winning every game since Abo Reida’s rosy prediction. There was absolutely no reason for Egyptian fans to doubt what Abo Reida said.

However, for some unknown reason the national side dropped two places in the FIFA ranking which meant losing its place among the top five sides in Africa which saw Tunisia replace us.

While many people are blaming and criticising Abo Reida for his ignorance and lack of awareness of the issue, the CAF and FIFA should be the entities to blame as for some unknown reason again FIFA decided to announce the new FIFA ranking before its scheduled time which affected many national teams including our own.

The CAF should be blamed since it did not know about the new timing of the FIFA ranking, resulting in the uncertainty we’re facing at the moment. As a result, the Egyptian federation sent an official complaint to FIFA saying there was a lack of respect to fair play and that it was inappropriate to decide to change the timing of announcing the FIFA ranking without informing national teams worldwide about it.

It is understood that several other national teams sent similar complaints to FIFA which makes Egypt’s case more powerful. All the points mentioned in Egypt’s complaint should result in keeping Egypt among the top five sides in Africa. The Egyptian federation based its entire complaint on facts which again should make the case a strong one.

Abo Reida and the top figures in the Egyptian federation are optimistic that the complaint will change the situation especially that there is no reason FIFA would reject Egypt’s claim. The whole issue should be resolved in the coming days but as it stands now, Egypt is seeded in Pot 2 alongside Cape Verde, DR Congo, Nigeria and Mali while Pot 1 includes Algeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia. The strong teams are in different groups, meaning that if things stay the way they are, Egypt will definitely fall in a strong group.

There are five groups with four teams each, playing home and away games. Only the top five will go to Russia in 2018.

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