CAIRO: Mohamed Abou-Trika said on Wednesday that Egypt s task to reach next year s World Cup finals in South Africa is “almost impossible.
The Pharaohs were firm favorites to end their World Cup jinx, having last qualified for the tournament in 1990, after being handed a relatively favorable draw in the qualifiers.
They were drawn in Group C along with minnows Rwanda, Zambia and ailing giant Algeria.
But Egypt, who won back-to-back Nations Cup titles in 2006 and 2008, stumbled in the early stages as they were held to a 1-1 home draw by Zambia before losing 3-1 away to Algeria in their first two games.
We have an almost-impossible mission, but it s a situation we re familiar with, classy playmaker Abou-Trika, an integral member of the team s squad, told FIFA.com.
I don t want to say anything more about our chances. It s clear Algeria are the favorites now, but as long as there s hope, we ll try our best.
Egypt lie second in the group with seven points, three behind leaders Algeria with two matches remaining. Only the group winners will reach the World Cup.
Algeria host Rwanda on Sunday while Egypt face Zambia in Chililabombwe a day earlier. North African rivals Egypt and Algeria then lock horns in their last qualifier at Cairo Stadium.
We know that winning away against an attack-minded Zambia will be far from easy, but as ever we ll do our best to triumph and keep our qualification hopes alive, Abou-Trika, who plays for Egyptian champions Ahly, added.
This is a very good Zambia side, even if they ve not had the best of luck in the group, especially in their two matches against Algeria.
Six-time African champions Egypt will miss some key players against Zambia including Mohamed Zidan, Mahmoud Fathallah, Emad Meteb and Ahmed “Mido Hossam.
Of course I wish these players were with us as we could really use their experience in these circumstances, he added.
That said he we re all clear on the challenge ahead of us.
It would be harsh for us to miss out on the World Cup, firstly because we re African champions but also because, for many of my generation, this could be our last chance to take part.