After losing to Qatar in a Thursday friendly within the context of preparations for a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe, Egypt coach Bob Bradley vowed that the team would book a place in the tournament.
"We've made a lot of progress, establishing the team's mentality, trying to understand how to compete in the future," Bradley said at a post-game press conference.
"There's a belief among the players that we're going to reach the World Cup; this is something that no one can take away from us," he added.
Without the participation of Zamalek, ENPPI and Ismaily players, and in the absence of players who are currently abroad, Egypt suffered a 3-1 defeat by Qatar in Thursday's friendly in Doha.
The Pharaohs played with their second squad, since a number of leading players were absent due to other engagements, as the Thursday match was not listed on FIFA's official calendar.
Bradley was forced to introduce a handful of local players, such as Tarek Hamed, Ahmed Hamoudi (Smouha) and Hussein Hamdy (Maqassa), for whom Thursday's friendly represented their first-ever international match.
Despite the loss to Qatar, Bradley praised the performance of Ahly players Abdullah El-Said, Hossam Ashour and defender Mohamed Naguib.
"Today we saw El-Said for 90 consecutive minutes," the coach said. "We always work with Hossam Ashour in the midfield to find the right pass in attacking areas and Mohamed Naguib in defence, so I think these are three positive points."
The loss to Qatar is the fourth successive defeat for Egypt within the context of preparations for World Cup qualifiers. They also recently lost 0-3 to Ghana, 2-4 to Ivory Coast and 1-2 to Chile.
The Pharaohs are currently preparing for their upcoming clash with Zimbabwe in a World Cup qualifier set to be played in Alexandria's Borg Al-Arab stadium on 26 March.
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