Friday,21 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1165, (19 - 25 September 2013)
Friday,21 September, 2018
Issue 1165, (19 - 25 September 2013)

Ahram Weekly

To Brazil via Ghana

Egypt will face Ghana in the final stage of the World Cup, Inas Mazhar reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

Only one team and only two more games stand in the way of Egypt going to the World Cup. As such, Egypt head coach Bob Bradley said he would start preparing for the first leg, which will be played in Ghana next month, immediately. “We will continue to make sure that our team is confident and focused. We have found the players and if you look at the qualifications thus far the team has played so well and will continue to work through”, Bradley told Al-Ahram Weekly.
“This is really serious for both teams, Egypt and Ghana, as each has a chance to reach the World Cup and our chance is to focus; that’s the goal.
“We have full respect for Ghana. They are a strong team and we are a strong team also, to get the World Cup in this case. We will be tested and so will Ghana. The one who goes through is the one who will represent Africa in a great way.”
The American coach of the pharaohs is relieved to be playing the second match in Egypt and hopes the venue would be Cairo Stadium.
“Starting away gives us more time to make sure that our home match can be played in Cairo, during the past months and because of the situation of the country we had to play in different places. My answer will always be Cairo Stadium and we need the supporters. I ask them to give us what they have been giving me since I arrived here -- the passion and enthusiastic support that we need to make it to Brazil.
“As a team, we have been looking forward since the day I arrived here to making it to the World Cup and fulfilling the Egypt dream and I believe that the focus, the determination and the belief of the players that we can go the World Cup is the motivation. I give credit to all of them; they are my brothers and together we will make it to the World Cup.”
Vice President of the Ghanian Football Association Fred Crentsil believes that his team’s game against Egypt is the toughest. “It’s the most difficult game, looking at the pairings. It’s the final of finals. We need to start preparations immediately. Egypt is a formidable team, they are playing well and we have to be careful. We playing first at home also gives them an advantage.”
The Egyptians have made it only twice to the World Cup; in 1934 and 1990 while the Ghanaians qualified four times.
In the draw, it will be Cote d’Ivoir vs Senegal, Ethiopia vs Nigeria, Tunisia vs Cameroon, Ghana vs Egypt and Burkina Faso vs Algeria. The draw decided on the fixtures with respect to which team plays home first. First leg matches are to be held between 11-15 October while the second leg fixtures will take place during from 15-19 November.
The draw was held on Monday at the CAF headquarters in Cairo. The draw was conducted by Gordon Savic, head of FIFA World Cup & Olympic Qualifiers Competitions, with assistance from CAF Secretary General Hicham El Amrani. In attendance was CAF President Issa Hayatou, members of the CAF Executive Committee as well as officials from the teams which qualified.
Days before the draw, there was good news for the four-time World Cup qualifiers Tunisia as it replaced Cape Verde, who topped the Group B qualifications round. Cape Verde was disqualified for fielding ineligible defender Fernando Varela in an away win over Tunisia. The 2-0 victory for the island nation was changed to a 3-0 defeat, allowing the North African team to end up in first place.
According to the CAF official website, the one-year home ban imposed on Senegal’s Leopold Sedar Senghor stadium will run through the 2014 World Cup playoffs. The Teranga Lions have been drawn against Cote d’Ivoire for the final hurdle in the qualifiers with the Ivorians hosting the first leg from 11-15 October. However, the Senegalese cannot host the return encounter at Leopold Sedar Senghor stadium in November in Dakar due to the home ban so will have to play outside the country.
The Senegal Football Federation was notified of the one-year ban on 27 November 2012 after a meeting by the CAF disciplinary board last year.
Missiles, stones, bottles and firecrackers were thrown onto the pitch and tear gas during a 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire in Dakar. The match ended abruptly in the 74th minute with Cote d’Ivoire leading 2-0.
Other coaches revealed their reactions after the draw to reporters who gathered at a mixed zone for interviews. Ethiopian coach Sewnet Bishaw saw it as a good draw for both Ethiopia and Nigeria. “We will be looking forward to playing Nigeria again after meeting them at AFCON 2013. At that time we were just happy to get back into top level competition and were inexperienced but now we have had many more matches at this level so we will give it a good go against Nigeria.”
Paul Put, head coach of Burkina Faso, finds it a balanced draw. “Facing a big football nation as Algeria we have to do our homework in preparing for the big game. Our players have been active in preparations and we hope to take it from there. We have a good opportunity to qualify for the World Cup for the first time. The self-belief in our players after reaching this stage and also reaching AFCON 2013 finals will motivate us to try harder to make our first World Cup final.”
Nabil Daboussi, executive committee member of the Tunisia Football Federation, said it was going to be difficult for both teams, but that the pitch will decide. “We will announce our new coach very soon and we can start preparations immediately.”
The Tunisian coach resigned after it looked like Tunisia had lost in the group stage.
Rumours spread this week that Egypt’s former coach Hassan Shehata is a favourite for the Tunisian job. His assistant coach Shawki Gharieb was quoted as saying that Shehata was close to signing for the Tunisian side.
President of the Algerian Football Federation Mohamed Raouaraoua said his team was well prepared. “There are many new faces on our team who are talented and playing very well at the club level. We are hoping to scale through and book our place at the World Cup in Brazil next year. Burkina Faso is playing well currently and will be tough opponents for sure but l believe our experience at this level should serve us well. What l know for sure is it will be an interesting and tight contest.”

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