The Egyptian national football team will meet on Wednesday with their Sudanese counterpart at the Olympic Stadium in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, in the third and final round of the Group D matches of the 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) that is running until 6 February.
At the same time, fellow Group D contestants Nigeria and Guinea Bissau will also be clashing to determine the two teams qualified directly for the round of 16 in the tournament.
Egypt need to beat Sudan to go further in AFCON 2021, especially since a victory would raise their score to 6 points and, consequently, secure second place in the group behind leaders Nigeria.
Egypt won their last group match against Guinea-Bissau with a goal from Mohamed Salah in the second round.
Egypt’s Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz put the final touches on the game plan against Sudan. The coaching staff of the Pharaohs studied the Sudanese team well during the past few days after watching some matches, the last of which was their last encounter in the Arab Cup last December, which ended with the Pharaohs winning 5-0.
Queiroz face an injury crisis that hit the team during the previous two games, including Ahmed Fattouh, Akram Tawfik, and Mahmoud Al-Wensh. These injuries are expected to take a toll on the team on Wednesday.
The Portuguese coach held a meeting with the players in which he warned them against complacency in front of the Sudanese team and asked them to focus throughout the game and to forget the Doha match in the Arab Cup, in which the Pharaohs excelled by five clean points.
He also asked them to put on a strong show, stressing that Egyptians will not accept any result other than winning and qualifying for the round of 16 of the championship and moving forward.
It is expected that Queiroz will start with Mahmoud Alaa — instead of Mahmoud Al-Wensh — Ayman Ashraf, Omar Kamal, and Ahmed Hegazy in the defence line. The midfield will have Hamdi Fathi, Mahmoud Hassan Trezeguet, and Amr Al-Sulayya; while the attacking line will include Mohamed Salah, Mustafa Mohamed, and Omar Marmoush.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s Ambassador to Cameroon Medhat Al-Meligy confirmed that there will be a third trip for Egyptian fans to Yaounde, Cameroon to attend the match of Sudan. HE said in press statements that there wre some difficulties in Yaounde to transfer Egyptian fans to the stadium, however, he will work to solve them with the Cameroonian authorities.
“The distance between Yaounde airport and the stadium of the Egypt-Sudan match is an hour and a half, and the medical capabilities there are better than Jaro [location of previous games],” he said
The Egyptian ambassador added that if the national team qualified for the final round, Egypt would play in the city of Douala.
“The stadiums in Douala and Yaounde are better than other cities, and I think that risk of injury will decline due to the quality of pitches in the next rounds,” he said.
Who has the upper hand in previous confrontations?
Egypt outperformed Sudan in all the official tournaments that brought them together. The Pharaohs played met the Falcons in 20 official matches throughout history. The Egyptian team excelled greatly by winning 13 matches, with Sudan winning 2 matches, besides 5 draws.
Both teams met in five matches throughout the history of AFCON — the tournament that the two countries founded together with Ethiopia. The Egyptian team won three times, was held to a draw once, and lost one game.
The first game between Egypt and Sudan was in the 1957 AFCON, when the Pharaohs beat the Falcon 2-0 scored by Raafat Attia and Al-Diba. They also won in the 1959 edition with two goals by Issam Bahij. The third match was in the 1963 edition, in which the two teams tied with two goals each.
The fourth meeting was in the semi-finals of the 1970 AFCON that was hosted by Sudan, when Sudan won 2-1 and went to claim their first AFCON title.
The last confrontation was in the 2008 edition that was held in Ghana, when the Pharaohs won 3-0 with a goal scored by Hosni Abd Rabbo and two goals from Mohamed Aboutrika.
The Egyptian team also faced Sudan in 15 official matches in other competitions, with four matches in the AFCON qualifiers, eight matches in the Olympic Games’ qualifiers, two matches in the World Cup’s qualifiers, and a match in the African Games’ qualifiers.
The Egyptian team managed to win 10 matches, lost 1, and tied in 4.