Preview: Egypt expected to stroll to comfortable win over Botswana

Ahram Online, Tuesday 14 Oct 2014


Egypt are expected to stroll to victory over Botswana in Cairo on Wednesday as they seek to keep alive their hopes of upstaging either Tunisia or Senegal in Group G of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The Pharaohs face the prospect of missing out on the biennial tournament, which they won a record seven times, for the third successive time after two opening defeats by Tunisia and Senegal left them languishing at the bottom.

They narrowed the gap with Senegal and Tunisia to four points after defeating Botswana 2-0 in Gaborone while the leading pair played out a goalless draw in Dakar.

With two stern tests at home to Senegal and away to Tunisia coming up, Egypt cannot afford any unpleasant surprise against Botswana, who posed little threat in Friday's clash and were undone by two second-half goals from Mohamed Elneny and Mohamed Salah.

Egypt coach Shawky Gharib, whose job remains under scrutiny, made several changes to his starting line-up which proved fruitful, dropping some of the underachievers and giving the chance to those who caught the eyes in the first few games of the Egyptian Premier League to prove their worth on the international level.

The likes of Zamalek's Ibrahim Salah and Ismaily's Amr El-Sulaya were impressive in the heart of Egypt's midfield while new defensive partners Mohamed Naguib and Saad Samir, who play for Cairo giants Ahly, looked composed at the back.

"I told my players that Botswana will have nothing to lose. They will be looking to get a positive result and they have some good players who can help them get something from the game," Gharib told Reuters.

"My players know well that we cannot afford any slip-up and that any result other than a win for us means that it's over."

Egypt will miss the same quartet who were absent in the away fixture due to injury - Ahly goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy, Hull City winger Ahmed Elmohamady, Zamalek winger Hazem Emam and Smouha striker Hani El-Egeizi.

Wednesday's home match will take place at Cairo Stadium and up to 20,000 supporters will be allowed to attend despite an ongoing crowd ban in domestic competitions.

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