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Egypt’s Pot A blueprint

By
Posted on May 22, 2016

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

The next two weeks are crucial to Egypt’s success.

The Pharaohs’ qualifying campaign will ultimately be decided most by performance, but the next few weeks will determine who Egypt plays and how difficult its group will be.

May 29, 30 and June 4 specifically are dates that will determine Egypt’s seeding fate.

We’ve written on the subject ad nauseam (seriously), so here’s a bottom-line primer of the situation and what Egypt can/should do about it.

May 29 – vs. (friendly)

While some, including myself, believe Egypt may have been better suited ignoring this match, it technically can have an impact on Egypt’s seeding prospects. If Tanzania loses, Egypt’s June 4 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against the Taifa Stars wouldn’t be worth as much. It would have meant that Egypt no longer controls its own destiny for a top-seed (Pot A). As a result, Egypt scheduled a match of its own just-in-case Kenya beats Tanzania.

According to several unofficial calculations, if Tanzania and Kenya draw, Egypt may still nip for the top seed – assuming wins for both Egypt and in AFCON qualifying – by a fraction of a point.

May 30 – Egypt vs. (friendly)

This match was scheduled as a reaction to the Tanzania vs. Kenya friendly. The idea behind it is that it would compensate for whatever negative point differential is caused in the FIFA Ranking if Tanzania succumbs to Kenya. It offers Egypt a chance to cancel out the Tanzania result should it adversely affect them. However, it also creates another must-win for Egypt, in addition to the June 4 contest in Tanzania. What if Tanzania beats or even ties Kenya? Suddenly this becomes an unnecessary, pressure-packed event.

The solution? If Tanzania beats Kenya (or draws, if unofficial calculations are correct) the day before, Egypt should cancel this match at all costs. Whatever fees it would owe Congo DR or fines it would incur would be worth it, because canceling the match would be as good as a win. In this case, Egypt would just need to beat Tanzania away on June 4 (a difficult enough task as it is) to earn a top seed.

June 4 – Tanzania vs. Egypt (2017 AFCON qualifier)

This is a must-win for Egypt, but it becomes irrelevant if Egypt fails to defeat Congo DR on May 30. Again, if the Kenya-Tanzania result goes Egypt’s way, Egypt should immediately cancel its friendly with Congo DR scheduled for the following day, as difficult as that may be.

Other relevant matches

Tunisia and are also alive for a top-seed, but only one of the three – counting Egypt – will get it. Both will be playing minnows – Djibouti and São Tomé and Príncipe respectively – so it should be assumed that Tunisia and will both win, forcing Egypt to have to defeat Tanzania.

Did you get all that?

The official seeds will be announced by FIFA June 8-10.

The draw for the group stage of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying will be held June 24.

7 Comments

  1. gogi

    May 22, 2016 at 1:08 PM

    Cancelling the match against Congo DR would be ridiculous and unfair. What happened to sportsmanship? Honestly, if they fail to win against Congo DR at home they don’t deserve to be in Pot 1.

    • Ramy

      May 23, 2016 at 3:23 PM

      Match cancelled already.

      • Nader

        May 23, 2016 at 4:07 PM

        It proves one more time that nobody from Glorious EFA knows a s***. What was point of H.Abou-Reda taking care when he messes everything up like the others did before him??

  2. Nader

    May 22, 2016 at 2:39 PM

    The Big Q: Is EFA aware of all those circumstances? Thus, are they planning to follow the above mentioned actions??

  3. Yehya Asker (@YehyaAsker)

    May 22, 2016 at 5:13 PM

    Excellent article!! Can someone PLEASE pass this to the bozos at our EFA.

    I hope they can realize the responsibility on their shoulders and stop the silly fight between themselves for personal gains.

    Since 1990, we could’t pass this silly last round of the WC qualifications. To give you an idea how long this has been: In 2018, my older son will be at the same age I was in 1990!!!

    • gogi

      May 23, 2016 at 12:42 AM

      Haha I just realize that age thing almost applies for me and my father, too. One of the bozos is a relative of mine. And trust me, if the other members are like him, nothing will change for the better…

  4. Ayman El-Ghazali

    May 26, 2016 at 3:15 PM

    You forgot about Senegal. Currently ranked 43, just one place above Egypt. A loss to Burundi (playing at home and currently second in the group) and a win for Egypt could see both sides swapping positions.

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