By FRANCO PANIZO
It all comes down to this.
The beginning of the end of Egypt’s turbulent road in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup is set to take place on Tuesday, as head coach Bob Bradley guides the Pharaohs into Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, Ghana to take on the Black Stars in the first match of their two-legged playoff. A World Cup berth is on the line over the course of a pair of matches that will culminate what has been a tough but so far successful campaign for Egypt, the only nation in the entire world that is still undefeated in this qualifying cycle.
Bradley has a tough task on his hands not only on Tuesday, but over the course of the two games (the Egyptians are set to host the return leg in Cairo on Nov. 19). Ghana are traditionally one of the stronger teams in Africa and eliminated the U.S. Men’s National Team from the 2010 World Cup back when Bradley was in charge of the Americans, and the unforgiving nature of these African playoffs could put a serious dent in what has been a remarkable job by Bradley and his Egyptian players given the circumstances they have faced.
Still, Bradley and Egypt have defied the odds before. They finished atop Group G in the last round of qualifying with a 6-0 record despite the Egyptian league being suspended due to turmoil in the African country, and won home matches played in empty stadiums. That has instilled plenty of confidence in Egypt as they look to knock off Ghana in order to earn their first World Cup berth since 1990, something that the Egyptian people are seriously hoping for.
Securing a place in Brazil 2014 will not be easy by any stretch, but nothing so far has been for Bradley and Egypt and yet they still stand. Tuesday’s game will be pivotal in their quest to reach the World Cup, but it could very well serve as the latest chapter in the incredible story that has been this qualifying campaign for both Bradley and the Egyptians.
How do you see Bradley and Egypt faring in Ghana on Tuesday? Think they will grab a result? Impressed by the fact that Egypt is the only undefeated team left in 2014 World Cup qualifying?
Share your thoughts below.