Egypt coach Hossam El-Badry (Photo: Ahram)
Egypt's national football team coach Hossam El-Badry has stated that the recent World Cup qualifiers draw is not easy for the team, adding that he expects tough competition through the qualifiers.
Egypt landed Tuesday a tricky draw for the group phase of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers as they were thrown into Group F along with Gabon, Libya and Angola.
"There is no easy group in the qualifiers. There will be tough competition during the qualifiers as all teams eye reaching the final phase," El-Badry was quoted as saying by the official Facebook page of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA).
Although the Pharaohs will be relieved to avoid facing Cote d'Ivoire, they will still have to negotiate some tough games as they bid to qualify for the World Cup for the second time.
"If we are in our normal shape on both the technical and physical levels, we will reach the final phase and also achieve the main target of reaching the World Cup finals," the former Ahly coach explained.
"Gabon is good team as it includes some players in big European leagues. Libya has players who play in Arab leagues and also the majority of Angolan local teams play in the various continental competitions," he added.
Egypt famously beat Angola 2-1 in a last-eight clash of the 2008 Nations Cup before going on to win the tournament. The sides also met twice in the 1994 World Cup qualifiers, with Egypt winning one match and drawing the other.
The record seven-time African champions won all three past encounters against Gabon, including one competitive game in the 1994 Nations Cup.
Against Libya, Egypt has won 13 out of 21 meetings, with three draws and five loses. Their last game saw Egypt beat their North African neighbours 2-0 in a friendly game in 2016.
Big hopes for second World Cup
Egypt made the last of their three World Cup appearances at the 2018 finals in Russia, where they bowed out in embarrassing fashion after losing all their group stage games against Uruguay, hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia.
"I have big hopes of reaching the finals for the second successive time, and the technical staff will work hard to achieve that target," El-Badry said.
"We respect all the teams in our group and we will work hard to prepare our team.
"I have full confidence in the players and all of us are determined to achieve the dream of all Egyptians," he concluded.
El-Badry's tenure got off to a disappointing start with the team settling for surprise draws with minnows Kenya and Comoros in their opening two matches of the 2021 Nations Cup qualifiers.
Only the 10 group winners of the World Cup qualifiers will advance to a final two-legged playoff to determine Africa's five representatives at the 2022 finals in Qatar.
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