The Daily News Egypt - - Front Page -

Af­ter the draw be­tween Ghana and Uganda on Satu­day, Egypt’s na­tional foot­ball team’s dream to se­cure a spot in the up­com­ing 2018 FIFA World Cup is near.

The Egyp­tian Pharaohs will meet the Con­golese Red Devils in a much fate­ful 90-minute con­fronta­tion on Sun­day, with no op­tion other than win­ning.

Satu­day’s game ended with a draw af­ter a goal by Ghana was can­celled in the last minute.

The game is sched­uled to be held at Borg El-Arab Sta­dium in Alexandria in the pres­ence of 80,000 Egyp­tian fans.

The team, un­der the man­age­ment of Ar­gen­tinian Coach Hec­tor Cu­per, has two sce­nar­ios to qual­ify for the World Cup, end­ing a 28-year-old block.

Any de­feat for the Pharaohs will end up in its ex­clu­sion from the qual­i­fiers.

The Egyp­tian me­dia and public opin­ion are op­ti­mistic voic­ing greater hope on this gen­er­a­tion of play­ers, most of whom are play­ing in the World Cup qual­i­fiers for the first time.To many Egyp­tians, sim­ply qual­i­fy­ing is a dream.

Last Jan­uary, President Ab­del Fat­tah Al-Sisi at­tended Egypt’s match against Ghana.

Coach Hec­tor Cu­per will de­pend on a mix of lo­cal tal­ents and high-cal­iber play­ers play­ing in Euro­pean clubs, the lat­ter which in­clude Liver­pool’s Mo­hamed Salah, Arse­nal’s Mo­hamed El­neny, and Stoke City’s Ra­madan Sobhy.

Sun­day’s game will also wit­ness the ab­sence of sev­eral main play­ers, such as Al-Ahly’s mid­fielder and Saudibased Moustafa Fathi. Leg­endary goal­keeper Es­sam El-Hadary, 44, will head the team as the cap­tain. If Egypt qual­i­fies, El-Hadary will set to be the old­est player to en­ter the tour­na­ment.

In 1990, Egypt qualified to the com­pe­ti­tion in Italy in Group F. With a dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance, the team failed to qual­ify to the next round. Egypt scored one goal in the tour­na­ment by then-Al-Ahly mid­fielder Magdi Ab­del Ghani.

Since 1990, Egypt has at­tempted to qual­ify for the World Cup, but has failed un­der the lead­er­ship of sev­eral coaches.

Sun­day’s game against Congo will be a de­ci­sive fac­tor for Egypt’s qual­i­fy­ing to the World Cup

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