Egypt were handed a relatively easy World Cup qualifiers draw after being placed in Group E along with Guinea, Zimbabwe and either Mozambique or Comoros in the penultimate round on Saturday.
The Pharaohs were given a bye into the second round, given their position as the second-best African side in FIFA’s ranking for national teams, and were one of the top ten seeds in the penultimate stage.
They will contest with Guinea and Zimbabwe, both of whom have never qualified for the World Cup, and either Mozambique or Comoros for a place in the final ten-nation playoff.
Mozambique and Comoros meet in the first round to determine who would who join the aforementioned teams in Group E.
Egypt must finish on top of the group to reach the final round, where a draw would pair them with one of the other group winners to play a two-legged tie for a place in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The seven-time African champions’ last competitive game with Zimbabwe was in the 2004 African Cup of Nations in Tunisia, where they won 2-1 in their opening match of the tournament.
Guinea defeated Egypt 4-2 in their last official match at the 1976 Nations Cup in Ethiopia.
Egypt, who made only two World Cup appearances, have not qualified for the football’s most prestigious event since 1990. They were close to ending that drought in the 2010 qualifiers but lost to North African rivals Algeria in a play-off match in Sudan.
They are seeking to hire a new coach following the departure of Hassan Shehata after they failed to reach next year’s Nations Cup finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.