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World Cup Qualifying Preview: Egypt vs Ghana
The Pharaohs of Egypt aim for their first World Cup since 1990 while the Black Stars of Ghana target a third straight qualification.
Match: Egypt vs Ghana
Competition: World Cup Qualifying, First Leg of Round Three
Venue: Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi, Ghana
Referee: Bouchaib Al-Ahrach
Date & Time: Tuesday October 15th 2013; 18:00 Egypt local time (16:00 GMT)
Following years of unprecedented challenges from Port Said to consecutive league stoppages, Bob Bradley has Egypt on the cusp of what would be its first World Cup qualification since Italia 1990, but drawing Ghana in the play-offs leaves the Pharaohs with another very tough challenge, a high and steep cliff to climb.
The Pharaohs are set to take on the Black Stars of Ghana in the first leg of the play-off tie on Tuesday at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, while the return leg is scheduled to take place in Cairo next month, but FIFA has demanded that Egypt provide security guarantees by 28 October following renewed violence in the country. The winner of both legs will qualify for the World Cup next year in Brazil.
Egypt, arguably one of the greatest on the continent, have dominated Africa superbly for over a decade and have seven ACN trophies to their name – the most successful nation in the tournament’s history. Ghana, on the other hand, have three less African Cup trophies but have been a dominant force over the last few years, with a crucial portion of their current squad from the side that won the 2009 U-20 World Cup in Egypt.
Despite Egypt being a great force on the continent, their impressive performances have often failed to replicate when it gets to World Cup qualifications. They have always struggled to qualify for the World Cup, but in this year’s qualification they seem very special. The Pharaohs are the only country with a 100% record in the qualifications worldwide. They have won an impressive 18 points from six qualifiers and they seem very determined and focused.
The Black Stars also have had an impressive run in the group stage of the qualifications. They accumulated a total of 15 from a possible 18 points with the only loss away at Ndola to 2012 African Champions Zambia. Ghana have had good runs in the World Cup featuring in 2006 in Germany and 2010 in South Africa, where they were Africa’s best and last contingent from the continent to be eliminated. They nearly registered a record as the first African country to enter the semi-finals with an Asamoah Gyan spot kick away, but it was missed.
Egypt have less injury worries as no fresh injury has hit the camp of the mighty Pharaohs. Conversely, Ghana have four major injuries and all four have been ruled out of the first leg. Defensive duo of Jonathan Mensah and John Boye are both injured, as well as the midfield duo of Kevin-Prince Boateng and Rabiu Mohamed. Afful Harrison will also miss the game due to suspension.
The last competitive meeting of both sides was in the 2010 African Cup of Nations in Angola. The Pharaohs under successful coach Hassan Shehata defeated Ghana by a lone goal scored by Mohamed ‘Gedo’ Nagy in the 85th minute to clinch the seventh African Cup.
PROBABLE LINE UPS
Richard Kingson; Daniel Opare, Awal Mohamed, Jerry Akaminko, Mubarak Wakaso; Sulley Muntari, Michael Essien; Kwadwo Asamoah, Andre Ayew, Asamoah Gyan; Abdul Majeed Waris.
Sherif Ekramy; Ahmed Fathi, Wael Gomaa, Mohamed Naguib, Ahmed Shedid; Hossam Ashour, Mohamed El-Nenny, Hossam Ghaly; Mohamed Salah, Mohamed Abou-Treika, Walid Soliman.