By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Through ongoing political strife and a year without a domestic league, Egypt is now remarkably one step closer to a spot in Brazil for next summer’s World Cup.
The Pharaohs, led by former USMNT coach Bob Bradley, sealed the top spot in Group G of the African federation on Sunday with a 1-0 road win over Mozambique. The victory pushed Egypt eight points clear of Guinea with one match left to play.
Egypt, who has not been to the World Cup since 1990, grabbed the lone goal of the match in the 42nd minute. Just one week after his hat trick against Zimbabwe and one day after his 21st birthday, FC Basel man Mohamed Salah found the back of the net for the visitors, who have won all five of their group stage matches.
It has been an unbelievable qualifying journey for Bradley and the Pharaohs. After the Port Said stadium tragedy in February 2012, the government placed a ban on all domestic competition that was not lifted until February of this year. Eighteen of the 25 team members are currently under contract in Egypt’s domestic league.
The seven-time African champions will now prepare for a two-leg series in October and November against one of the other nine group winners. The final five matchups, which will be drawn on September 16, will determine the continent’s five representatives for Brazil 2014.