World Cup Qualifier
Thursday, cost August 31; 4pm.
Mandela National Stadium, Namboole
FOOTBALL–Egyptian national football team has arrived in Uganda ahead of the crunch Fifa World Cup qualifier against the Uganda Cranes on Thursday.
The team of 26 players, including 11 who play in the Egyptian league with seven from record league champions Al Ahly, jetted into the country Tuesday evening.
Former Valencia and Inter Milan coach Hector Cuper has come with a host of stars expected to see through the job so as to maintain a 100 percent record in Group E.
But Uganda Cranes will fancy their chances at the fortress of Namboole where only Togo appears to have the magic wand to walk away with maximum result.
The Pharaohs arrived at Entebbe International Airport with English-based star players Muhammed Salah, who plays for Liverpool, and Muhammed El-Neny of Arsenal leading the cast.
The English Premier League midfielder dynamos are likely to form the basis of Egypt’s quest against Cranes as the Pharaohs seek to continue their fine form against Cranes.
At Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon in January, Egypt huffed and puffed against a resilient Cranes before Salah, who tormented Arsenal at the weekend in Liverpool’s 4-0 rout of the North London side, found an opening in the dying minutes to create the scoring opportunity.
Egypt lead Group E with six points from two games against Ghana and Republic of Congo, with Cranes two points further back in second place. Ghana and Republic of Congo look out of contention unless the Cranes-Egypt double header plays in their hands by way of two draws.
The Pharaohs have not qualified for World Cup final in 27 years having last represented Africa at the penultimate football extravaganza at Italia ’90.
Uganda is relishing the unfeasible dream of making a maiden appearance and will look to grab all the chances they can create at Namboole with all their hands as a win would see them leapfrog Egypt at the top.
If such a scenario happened, the Cranes would need a draw in Egypt or win their final two games and hope Egypt falls in Ghana.
Goalkeepers: Essam El-Hadary (Al-Taawoun, KSA), Sherif Ekramy (Ahly), Ahmed El-Shennawy (Zamalek)
Defenders: Ahmed Fathi(Al Ahly), Saad Samir(Al Ahly), Rami Rabia(Al Ahly), Ahmed Hegazi (West Brom, ENG), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa, ENG), Mohamed Abdel-Shafy (Ahli, KSA), Karim Hafez (RC Lens, FRA), Omar Gaber (FC Basel)
Midfielders: Mohamed ElNeny (Arsenal, ENG), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City, ENG), Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic, ENG), Mahmoud Trezeguet (Kas?mpa?a, TUR), Mostafa Fathi (Al Taawoun, KSA), Abdallah El-Said(Al Ahly), Hossam Ashour(Al Ahly) , Saleh Gomaa (Al Ahly,), Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Mohamed Fathi (Ismaily)
Forwards: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, ENG), Mahmoud Kahraba (Ittihad, KSA), Amr Gamal (Bidvest Wits, RSA), Ahmed Hassan Kouka (Sporting Braga, POR), Hossam Hassan (Smouha).
Pic 1. The Egyptian national team arriving at Entebbe International Airport.