Egypt to host World Cup qualifier in Gouna following stadium headache
FIFA has agreed to allow Egypt to host Guinea at Gouna Stadium in their final Group G match in World Cup qualifying, the EFA has confirmed.
Egypt’s World Cup qualifier against Guinea next Tuesday was under scrutiny after authorities refused to hold the match at Alexandria’s Borg El-Arab stadium, while FIFA initially disapproved of the Gouna Stadium, which is without floodlights, and only acknowledged the Cairo Stadium, Army Stadium and the Air Defense Stadium as suitable international venues.
However, the Egyptian FA issued a statement on Friday ahead of the September 10 clash with Guinea, which is to be played behind closed doors, claiming that the ‘problem has been resolved after FIFA and CAF had approved Gouna Stadium’.
Gouna Stadium isn’t unfamiliar territory for most of Bob Bradley’s squad, as all continental football games have been hosted in Hurghada since the army toppled president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July following mass protests.
The Pharaohs hosted Uganda there in a 3-0 friendly win last month, while both Al-Ahly and Zamalek have also been playing their CAF Champions League home fixtures at the 12000-seater stadium.
The Cairo giants’ matches at Gouna stadium were also supposed to be played behind closed doors, but Ultras Ahlawy and Ultras White Knights filled up large portions of the stadium in their respective sides’ home fixtures after being admitted by the Egyptian security forces.
Egypt, currently the only country in the world with a perfect record in World Cup qualifying following Netherlands’ 2-2 draw with Estonia, have already booked their place in Africa’s final round – along with Ivory Coast, Algeria and Ghana so far – but the Pharaohs must win against Guinea to improve their FIFA Ranking in order to stand a chance of reaching the seeded pot and avoid the African heavyweights
Once the Group Stage in CAF concludes next week, there will be five home-and-away matches played in October and November to determine the five Africa nations which progress to Brazil 2014.
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