CAF Rewind: Egypt one step closer to third round; Kamara keeps Sierra Leone hopes alive; and more

ZimbabweEgyptSalah1 (Reuters)

By DAN KARELL

There are plenty of feel good stories in the sports world, but one that jumps to the top of the list has to be the play of the Egyptian National Team.

Under head coach Bob Bradley’s watch, the nation, suffering from internal political turmoil and a recently resumed domestic league is on the cusp of making the third round of CAF qualifying, putting them closer to making their first World Cup since 1990.

On Sunday, the Pharaohs took down Zimbabwe on the road, 4-2, thanks to a hat-trick from FC Basel forward Mohamed Salah. A win next Sunday against Mozambique and Egypt will have made it to the third round, a two-legged matchup in October and November to see who will qualify for the World Cup.

Also in action this past weekend in African World Cup qualifying, Sierra Leone kept their hopes alive with a 2-2 draw against Tunisia, though they conceded a 90th minute equalizer from Tunisia midfielder Fakhreddine Ben Youssef. Kei Kamara scored the opener in the 39th minute, before Tunisia equalized.

Sierra Leone now sits on five points from four games, and needs Tunisia to drop points in their final two results while the Leone Stars need to win their final pair.

Here’s a full rundown of this past weekend’s matchups in CAF qualifying:

(Home team written first)

Group A:
Botswana 1, Ethiopia 2
Central African Republic 0, South Africa 3

Group B:
Sierra Leone 2, Tunisia 2
Cape Verde 2, Equatorial Guinea 1

Group C:
Gambia 0, Ivory Coast 3
Morocco 2, Tanzania 1

Group D:
Sudan 1, Ghana 3
Zambia 4, Lesotho 0

Group E:
Gabon 0, Congo 0
Niger 0, Burkina Faso 1

Group F:
Malawi 0, Namibia 0
Kenya 0, Nigeria 1

Group G:
Zimbabwe 2, Egypt 4
Guinea 6, Mozambique 1

Group H:
Benin 1, Algeria 3
Mali 1, Rwanda 1

Group I:
Libya 0, Congo DR 0
Togo 2, Cameroon 0

Group J:
Uganda 1, Liberia 0
Angola 1, Senegal 1

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19 Responses to CAF Rewind: Egypt one step closer to third round; Kamara keeps Sierra Leone hopes alive; and more

  1. Tony in Quakeland says:

    If Bradley gets Egypt in the World Cup with everything that has been going on there, with the class and dignity he has shown, he should absolutely be the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. Are you listening, Grant Wahl?

  2. Dinho says:

    Tshabalala!!!!!!!!

  3. Mig says:

    I had thought Egypt was through but I was mistaken. However, they only need two points to lock advancement whereas Guinea needs all 6 from the last two games (obviously beating Egypt as one of two games). Looking good for the Pharaohs.

  4. malkin says:

    Pretty crazy qualification format in that no matter how well you do, qualification all comes down to one home and away in the end.

    • DC Josh says:

      Yeah pretty much. It’s tough going in Europe and Africa for qualifying. North and South America get off easy for sure.

      • mikeandike says:

        there is nothing easy about going to Antigua & Barbuda, Jamaica and Guatemala….come on, wouldn’t you rather have to go through Spain AND France in the same group to qualify?

      • wides says:

        At least in Europe the group winners get automatic entry. It’s only the (top 8) second place teams that play a home and away playoff to get in.

        Africa’s qualification is ridiculous.

      • Josh says:

        Europe only has 8 or 10 games and even second place gets another chance. South America has to play 18-20 games against all quality opponents. Not sure why you would think SA gets off easily.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      It’s odd to me to have two legs then group then two legs. Why not have a round or two more of two legs, then finish with groups of teams that have proven they belong through multiple rounds of knockout, best team wins group? The draw would still matter but not as much and as conclusively as if it was two legs back in thunderdome. You have to dominate over 6 games and not just advance over 2.

      But then some of the countries who think they have a chance might like the randomness this throws into qualification. The longer you make the weedout process the more ability traditional powers like say Mexico have to fix any issues that arise.

  5. froboy says:

    Let’s root hard for Zambia, maybe we can with the Cup if Ghana doesn’t make it.

  6. Ccjc says:

    Happy for Coach Sweats

    • DanO says:

      Wonder if he ever lets his son know which team/players he thinks are better in CONCACAF vs CAF. He sure has an interesting perspective. Would love to know how he thinks the US stacks up against African teams and what the different qualifying competitions are like.

  7. dabes2 says:

    Good for Bob. I hope Egypt make it all the way. But what a brutal format. Assuming they make the last 10, they still have a coin flip draw for a home-and-away to qualify. The top two teams could be drawn against each other. NO ONE qualifies until the last day! Crazy.

    They only play 8 games to qualify (10 if they weren’t in top 28 seeds). Tough to make that kind of system not have some flaws. But understanding the constraint to limit the number of games, it seems like they play too many games to get down to the last 10 and then not enough games to get from 10=>5. 40 teams are playing in round robin, and many of those games are meaningless.

    For me it might make sense to try and use a system more like the Europa League where you have a 2 rounds of home-v-homes to cut the field quickly down to 16 teams (you could give 12 teams a bye for first of the two knockout rounds). Then they could do 4 groups of 4 just like now, but with the best teams. Top in group qualify and 2nd place go into 4 team mini-tourney for final spot.

  8. Josh says:

    Would have liked to see Kei’s Leone stars finish that game and make it a more competitive group. It would still be a lot to ask for them making it out of the group, but beating Tunisia would have done wonders for their chances

  9. masipa says:

    Egytian wil do the best dis tym