CAIRO: Egypt coach Hassan Shehata believes the opener of the World Cup qualifiers final phase will be difficult regardless of Zambia s caliber.
Beginnings are always difficult, Shehata told the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) official website on Thursday.
Our match against Zambia will largely determine how we would fare in the qualifiers.
A win will give us a boost in morale before we take on other opponents.
The Pharaohs, who aim to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1990, open their Group C campaign against Zambia at Cairo Stadium on Sunday.
The group also includes Egypt s rivals Algeria and minnows Rwanda.
Shehata, who led Egypt to back-to-back Nations Cup triumphs, warned his side against underestimating Zambia.
Zambia deserve our respect. They are a very good team, the 59-year-old concluded.