Preview: Egypt aim to maintain perfect start in 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Sierra Leone

Mahmoud Elassal , Saturday 18 Nov 2023

Egypt are resolute in their determination to uphold their perfect start in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers as they prepare to take on Sierra Leone in the second round of Group A games on Sunday.

Egypt

 

After their impressive 6-0 victory over Djibouti in the campaign opener, the Pharaohs are focused on delivering a convincing performance against Sierra Leone.

Heading into the match, Portuguese coach Rui Vitoria acknowledges the challenges that lie ahead, emphasizing that there are no easy games in football.

"Tomorrow's game will be different and we know it will be difficult because our opponent is more organized," Vitoria said during the pre-match press conference.

"We are ready to face Sierra Leone or any other team. Our goal is always to win, not only tomorrow's game but against any opponent we face," he added.

Vitoria highlights the various circumstances that can influence the outcome, such as the heat, long trips, and the enthusiasm of opposing fans.

"This group is by no means easy," Vitoria emphasized during a press conference.

Drawn into Group A alongside Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, and Djibouti for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, the Pharaohs are eager to start strong.

Egypt currently leads Group A with three points after the first round, while Sierra Leone began their qualifying campaign with a goalless draw against Ethiopia. Burkina Faso, on the other hand, was held to a 1-1 draw by Guinea-Bissau.

Egypt will be without the services of wingers Emam Ashour and Hussien El-Shahat, as well as midfielder Tarek Hamed, who have been dropped from the squad due to their behaviour during the ongoing training camp.

This encounter holds historical significance for Egypt, as they previously faced Sierra Leone in Group 7 of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The Pharaohs were held to a 1-1 draw in the first game at home and suffered a 2-1 defeat in the second game of the group stage.

However, neither team qualified for the AFCON finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

With their sights set on a fourth World Cup appearance, Egypt is determined to deliver outstanding performances throughout the qualifiers.

Under Vitoria's leadership, Egypt has already secured a place in the 2023 AFCON, scheduled to take place in Cote d'Ivoire in January 2024.

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