Today, the draw for the second round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers for Africa will be held today, but this time it will be different and linked to bad memories of the Pharaohs.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) returned to the 3-stage process to resolve the identity of the five qualifying teams to the 2018 World Cup, instead of qualifying the group leaders directly.
The top 26 teams in the FIFA rankings – including Egypt – did not participate in the preliminary qualifiers.
They were joined by 14 teams who qualified from the preliminary stage, to form 40 teams, consisting of 10 groups, to be announced on Tuesday.
The second stage, which I will draw on Tuesday, will be with the participation of 40 teams, divided into 10 groups, each group includes 4 teams according to the FIFA classification.
After its end, the second stage begins with the participation of the group leaders only, as the 10 qualified teams will be divided into two halves according to the FIFA rankings, and a new lottery will be held to play two knockout matches to determine 5 finalists to the 2022 World Cup.
This system is identical to the 2014 World Cup qualification system, which is associated with a bad memory of the Pharaohs.
On the way to qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, Egypt under Bob Bradley achieved the full score in the group stage and collected 18 points thanks to the successful offensive partnership between veteran Mohamed Abu Trika and rookie at the time, Mohamed Salah, who finished the qualifiers at the top of the scorers.
Egypt signed its time in the group with Guinea, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and the Pharaohs defeated all their competitors back and forth.
Then the round came on the next stage by facing the leaders of another group, and the draw placed Egypt in the face of Ghana.
But the dream of qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1990 clashed with the feet of Asamoah Gyan, Sole Muntari and Michael Essien to score 6 goals in Kumasi, compared to one goal signed by Abu Trika.
The 2-1 victory of the Egyptian team did not change the reality, so that the Pharaohs waited for 4 new years.
With the return of the qualification system directly from the groups, the wait of 28 years for the Pharaohs to reappear in the World Cup ended after Salah’s penalty kick in the Congo.
Does this mean pessimism before the qualifying round starts?
No, going back to November 1989, Egypt snatched the 1990 World Cup qualifier in Italy from Algeria with the same system that would be applied to qualify for the next World Cup.
Under Mahmoud El-Gohary, the Egypt national team qualified for the final stage of the qualifiers after leading its group that included Liberia, Malawi and Kenya.
In the final stage, he collided with the Algerian national team, which had participated in the 1982 and 1986 versions, and kidnapped the Pharaohs to qualify for Italy after a go-to tie and winning in the Cairo Stadium, headed by Hossam Hassan.
How the first stage ended
The first stage witnessed the participation of several teams who were present on the soil of Egypt a few months ago to participate in the 2019 African Nations Cup.
Zimbabwe – Burundi – Tanzania – Namibia – Angola – Guinea-Bissau, participated in the championship that ended with the crowning of the title in Algeria.
All of them, with the exception of Burundi, qualified for the second stage, which I drew on Tuesday:
Ethiopia She qualified at the expense of Lesotho after a goalless draw and a 1-1 draw away from home.
Zimbabwe She qualified at the expense of Somalia after losing 1-0 back and winning 3-1.
Namibia She qualified at the expense of Eritrea after winning 2-1 and 2-0.
Tanzania At the expense of Burundi, it qualified for a penalty shoot-out after the same 1-1 draw back and forth.
Djibouti She qualified at the expense of I Swatini after winning 2-1 back and drawing negative again.
Malawi She qualified at the expense of Botswana after a goalless draw in the 1-0 home win.
Angola She qualified at the expense of Gambia after winning 1-0 and 2-1 coming home.
Liberia She qualified at the expense of Sierra Leone after winning 3-1 back and losing 1-0 in the second leg.
Mozambique She qualified at the expense of Mauritius after winning 1-0 back and 2-0 back.
Guinea-Bissau She qualified on the Saotome account by winning in the 1-0, 1-2 coming home.
Equatorial Guinea She qualified at the expense of South Sudan after a 1-1 tie back and a 1-0 home victory.
Tojo She qualified at the expense of Comoros after a 1-1 tie back and a 2-0 victory.
Sudan Qualified at the expense of Chad after winning 3-1 back and draw negative again.
Rwanda She qualified at the Seychelles account after winning 3-0 back and forth 7-0.
What is waiting for the pharaohs?
According to the FIFA rankings, Egypt will be at the head of a group of the top 10 African teams in the rankings.
The forty teams that participate in Tuesday’s lottery are divided into 4 levels according to the FIFA classification:
level one: Senegal – Tunisia – Nigeria – Algeria – Morocco – Ghana – Egypt – Cameroon – Mali – Democratic Republic of the Congo
Second Level: Burkina Faso – Cote d’Ivoire – South Africa – Guinea – Uganda – Cape Verde – Gabon – Benin – Zambia – Congo
The third level: Madagascar – Mauritania – Libya – Mozambique – Kenya – Central Africa – Zimbabwe – Niger – Namibia – Guinea-Bissau
fourth level: Malawi – Angola – Togo – Sudan – Rwanda – Tanzania – Equatorial Guinea – Ethiopia – Liberia – Djibouti
What does the Egyptian team do in participating in the more than one qualifying stage?
This will not be the first time that Egypt has participated in more than one qualifiers since CAF relied on the group system for the first time in the 1990 World Cup Qualifiers.
1990: He qualified for the World Cup by beating Algeria
1994: Farewell to the first group stage preliminaries
2010: Egypt qualified for the second group stage, but lost the qualification card to the Algerian national team in a playoff after a tie in points.
2014: Ghana lost the qualification card for the final stage
2022: We meet you in Qatar