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WCQ: FIFA ambiguity leaves Egypt in the dark

World Cup

Egypt’s World Cup qualifying Pot 1 fate remains uncertain thanks to opaque, changing information from FIFA.

Though Sunday’s 1-1 draw between Kenya and Tanzania brought the answer into somewhat clearer focus, uncertainty surrounding the release date of a “special” FIFA ranking is keeping fans and the teams themselves guessing.

In short, Egypt’s chances don’t look good. If both they and Tunisia win their final 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers, it is likely the Carthage Eagles that will end up in Pot 1.

Assuming wins for both, the Pot 1 ticket will ultimately be decided by which day FIFA chooses to release the “special” African ranking it unexpectedly announced in April.

FIFA says it will be released June 8-10. A June 8 or 9 release would favor Tunisia, while a June 10 release would favor Egypt. Again, that assumes an Egypt win over Tanzania and a Tunisia victory over Djibouti in AFCON qualifiers.

FIFA typically releases its regular monthly ranking on Thursdays. If it sticks to that pattern, June 9 may be the day, although it’s anyone’s guess given the association’s erraticism.

This table from our friends at We Global Football tells the story:

As you can see, it’s agonizingly close, and the odds favor Tunisia despite the fact that Egypt will be Africa’s fifth ranked team in FIFA’s regular June ranking.

It’s unclear what FIFA’s objective is with the “special” ranking and lack of transparency surrounding the release date. What is clear, however, is that Egypt is the team most adversely affected by it.

There is no word on when FIFA will clarify the date. Perhaps it wants to wait to see the results of forthcoming AFCON qualifiers, hoping the results will render the issue moot. Even so, the question of why FIFA suddenly decided to institute an off-schedule ranking – just days after Egypt’s March 29 win over Nigeria assured it would rank fifth in Africa in June’s FIFA World Ranking – will remain.

UPDATE: Egypt assistant coach Mahmoud Fayez claimed on Monday that friendlies outside of the June World Rankings window would not be part of FIFA’s “special” ranking criteria for Pot 1 seedings. According to Fayez, Egypt simply must beat Tanzania to land in Pot 1.

“We have to beat Tanzania on June 4 to keep our place in Pot 1 of the continental ranking,” he told reporters.

The confusion grows, and underscores the lack of transparency with which FIFA has operated.



  1. gogi

    May 30, 2016 at 12:34 PM

    We can’t blame the FIFA. Could’ve just put the fate in their own hands and play against DR Congo. Had an instant bad feeling when the match was cancelled. You get what you deserve…

  2. Yehya Asker (@YehyaAsker)

    May 30, 2016 at 7:20 PM

    What are you talking about? It never happened before that FIFA used anything except their regular monthly ranking. This time they are making very peculiar ranking. It simply smells corruption.
    Gogi, you’ve always attacked Egypt on this forum, would you please go back to your Tunisian or Algerian forum and chill!

    • gogi

      May 30, 2016 at 9:22 PM

      I’m always chilled and friendly. I’m Egyptian and don’t know of any Tunisian or Algerian forum I could go back to. And I’ve never attacked Egypt in any of my comments. Yes, I do critisize the EFA which is every bit as corrupt as the FIFA. It’s well-known that the FIFA and CAF have a history in screwing things up for Egypt in world cup qualifications. Still, it doesn’t help to whine and point your finger on others. They had the chance to avoid this situation by winning against DR Congo but chose to (unfairly) cancel the match. Now, they have to live with eventual consequences. Thank you for your nice comment, Mr Asker!

  3. Yehya Asker (@YehyaAsker)

    May 30, 2016 at 10:14 PM


    I agree with you regarding FIFA, CAF and EFA. They are all either corrupt or inept or both. I don’t agree with you regarding the DR Congo game though, remember Tunisia cancelled their friendly game as well for the same reason. It’s all a chess game. What the bozos at EFA should’ve done was to play the game in a way that it won’t be counted as an official FIFA match. This way, our NT get the practice without any negative effect.

    I know you’ll say it would’ve had a positive effect but at that time no one knew that so let’s not become a Monday morning quarterbacks.

    We all have to agree that FIFA using anything but their regular monthly ranking is very peculiar ranking and simply smells corruption and we can’t blame that on EFA to be fair, right?

    • Yehya Asker (@YehyaAsker)

      May 30, 2016 at 10:44 PM

      I would demand the bozos at EFA to try to change that and to pressure FIFA to use their regular monthly ranking!

  4. gogi

    May 30, 2016 at 11:24 PM

    I love being a Monday-morning quarterback. Although it’s already evening here in Germany. 🙂
    It was actually pretty clear that a win against DR Congo would make us less dependent on the Tanzania-Kenya outcome.

    In my opinion the EFA needs to brush up on their chess skills. As an enthusiastic chess and football player, I personally would’ve tried to put my fate in my own hands.

    Especially since – of course I agree with you on that point – the FIFA loves to put stones in Egypt’s way, sometimes even literally. 😉

  5. gogi

    May 30, 2016 at 11:28 PM

    And yes, of course the EFA bozos have to pressure FIFA to not pull off this ridiculous move!

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