Thursday Jul 23, 2020. 14:00
Egypt national team coach Hossam El Badry insists that there is no guarantee of qualification for the 2022 World Cup.
The Pharaohs, who appeared at the 2018 finals in Russia to break a lengthy drought away from the global tournament, have been pooled with Gabon, Libya and Angola in the penultimate stage of African qualifying for 2022.
El Badry, who replaced Javier Aguirre last year, told the FIFA website that although the draw is generally considered a kind one for his team, they will not be underestimating any opponents.
“It’s certainly a tough section and we can’t take any of our opponents for granted. We’ve recently seen that the gaps between African national teams have shrunk,” he said.
“Every team has progressed thanks to their overseas-based players. I recall that after we won the 2010 AFCON title, we failed to qualify for the next edition despite playing against so-called minnows.
“We currently have quality players based in Europe, so we’re first aiming to go beyond this group stage and reach the final round. Then we’ll be a step closer to realising our World Cup qualification dream and making all Egyptians happy.”
El Badry added that his squad is very much open to players who perform strongly for their clubs, with no one guaranteed selection.
“Every player stands a chance to be selected and I know very well that they all want to put on the national jersey. We’ve already given a chance to some young players and the door will remain open to everyone,” he explained.
“We want to integrate the promising young players with the seasoned ones.
“In that way we hope to solve a difficult equation: which is to assemble a strong team that can last for a decade, while making sure that we reach and maintain a high level by adapting to [football’s] technical requirements.”