Egypt risking World Cup hopes by playing Congo DR
Egypt’s recent decision to play a friendly against Congo DR could have dire consequences on its already tenuous grasp of a top seed in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
The Pharaohs already faced the prospect of having to win their final 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier in Tanzania to keep their position in Pot A, where they would avoid the rest of Africa’s top-five ranked sides in World Cup qualifying.
Instead, Egypt has now created two must-win scenarios for itself… it must defeat Congo DR in their May 30 friendly and win on the road in Tanzania, instead of just the latter.
The idea behind Egypt’s Congo DR friendly is that it would make up for whatever negative point differential would be created if Tanzania fails to defeat Kenya in an upcoming friendly. An Egypt win over Tanzania won’t mean quite as much in the rankings if Tanzania loses or draws its friendly against Kenya.
However, if Egypt fails to beat Congo DR, all that would be moot, as even a win over Tanzania would no longer be enough to remain in Pot A provided Tunisia and Cape Verde both win their final AFCON qualifiers, against Djibouti and São Tomé respectively.
Meanwhile, Tunisia and Cape Verde – Egypt’s competition for a place in Pot A – now simply get to lie in wait. Without playing a single friendly despite currently trailing Egypt in the race for Pot A, they would no longer have to worry about Egypt’s result against Tanzania if the Pharaohs slip-up against Congo DR.
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