Egypt and Senegal will clash in what would be a rematch of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final, held in Cameroon early February. The first leg between the two sides will be played at Cairo International Stadium and comes almost two months after Senegal beat Egypt. The Teranga Lions beat the Pharaohs 4-2 on penalties following a 0-0 draw after extra time. Egypt would want to take a positive first-leg result as they seek to deny star-studded Senegal a spot in Qatar.
The match will be held in the presence of more than 60,000 fans.
Carlos Queiroz, the coach of the national team, and Wael Gomaa, the general director, asked the players to focus only on the match, and to exercise social distance to avoid catching Coronavirus.
The squad witnessed many surprises, most notably the exclusion of Mohamed Sharif, Al Ahly’s striker, despite joining the team in the last Africa Cup of Nations, as well as calling up Nabil Imad Donga, Pyramids’ midfielder, to replace Mohannad Lashin.
Mohamed Magdy Afsha, Al Ahly’s star, joined the squad despite his absence from the AFCON. The squad also included Al Ahly defender Yasser Ibrahim, and Omar Gaber from Pyramids, to compensate for the absence of the duo Ahmed Hegazy and Mohamed Hani, who were injured.
A source in the technical staff of the national team revealed that Queiroz demanded that his players take advantage of the first 20 minutes of the match and the public enthusiasm and try to pressure the Senegal players hoping to score an early goal.
It was finally confirmed that the national team’s captain and Liverpool star, Mohamed Salah, was fit for the match.
The expected line-up is: Mohamed El-Shennawy (goalkeeper), Mahmoud El-Wensh, Mohamed Abdel-Moneim, Ahmed Fattouh, Omar Kamal, Mohamed Elneny, Amr Al-Sulayya, Hamdi Fathi, Omar Marmoush, Mohamed Salah, and Mostafa Mohamed.
On a related side, CAF has set three qualification conditions for the World Cup. The first one is the goal difference, i.e. the teams scoring the most goals will qualify. If the two teams are tied with the same result home and away, an extra time will be applied, then penalty kicks if the tie continues.
Ten teams are playing for five spots in Qatar 2022: Egypt against Senegal, Tunisia against Mali, Algeria against Cameroon, Morocco against Congo, and Nigeria against Ghana.
In this regard, the United Media Services Company announced winning the rights to broadcast the first match of Egypt and Senegal in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, while the second match will be broadcast through Ontime Sports for free.
Portuguese coach dreams of fifth World Cup qualification
Queiroz is looking for his fifth appearance in the World Cup, when he leads the Pharaohs against Senegal in the qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup.
Queiroz (69 years old) coached several clubs and teams during his long career, most notably Real Madrid and Manchester United, where he was an assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson and Sporting Lisbon. He also trained several teams such as Portugal, South Africa, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, and Iran. During his long career, Queiroz did not win several titles, as his most prominent titles remain the Spanish Cup with Real Madrid and the Portuguese Super Cup with Sporting Lisbon.
Queiroz will achieve a historic achievement if he leads Egypt to overcome the obstacle of Senegal and qualify for the World Cup, as he will become the first coach in the history of the World Cup, qualifying for the competition 5 times with 4 different teams.
Queiroz’s last participation in the World Cup dates back to 2018 in Russia with Iran, and it was the second consecutive participation with the Iranian team in the World Cup, after he also led them to reach the finals in the 2014 edition in Brazil.
On the previous two occasions, he qualified as a coach for the South African national team, but he left the team before the 2022 World Cup, which was held in Korea and Japan. Queiroz also led Portugal to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
On the four occasions, Queiroz managed to surpass the group stage only once with his country Portugal in the 2010 edition in South Africa, before being eliminated by Spain in the final, which beat the Netherlands in the final to crown the title for the first time in its history.
Queiroz achieved very distinguished results with the national team since his supervision of the team, succeeding Hossam El-Badri, by qualifying for the qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup and reaching the 2021 African Nations Cup final, which he lost by penalty shootout against Senegal, and ranked fourth in the Arab Cup.
Salah challenges Mane
Egyptian fans fear that the dilemma of Salah’s contract with Liverpool will affect the level of the national team’s star.
Salah dreams of leading his country to reach the World Cup for the second time in a row, as well as avenging their final loss to the Senegalese team.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have been competing for the title of best player in the African continent over the past years.
Mane won the first round at the expense of Mohamed Salah by winning the AFCON. Attention is drawn to the duo again in the qualifying round for the World Cup in Qatar.
Looking at the numbers of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane with Liverpool in the period after the final of the AFCON, we find that Salah has outperformed Mane at the individual level so far.
This is in addition to Salah’s great superiority over Sadio Mane in terms of numbers since the beginning of the current season in all tournaments.
Mohamed Salah has played 10 matches with Liverpool in all competitions since the AFCON final, during which he managed to score 5 goals and 1 assist. He participated in 7 matches with Liverpool in the English Premier League during this period, during which he scored 4 goals and 1 assist.
Mohamed Salah also participated in two Champions League matches, which were against Inter Milan in the round of 16, during which he scored a goal, in addition to the League Cup final match against Chelsea, in which the Egyptian star did not score or make any goals.
On the other hand, Sadio Mane played with Liverpool during the same period 10 games also in all competitions, but he scored 4 goals, and assisted one goal.
Sadio Mane played 6 matches with Liverpool in the English Premier League, during which he scored 4 goals and a single assist.
The Senegal star also played two matches in the Champions League against Inter, and the Chelsea match in the League Cup final, as well as a match in the FA Cup against Norwich City, where he did not put any imprint in those matches.
Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane did not participate in Liverpool’s victory over Nottingham last Sunday in the FA Cup quarter-final, while Reds coach Jurgen Klopp revealed that the absence of the Egyptian star came because he felt pain in the foot again after his injury against Brighton, while the Senegalese missed the match to rest before his game with Egypt.
Salah scored 28 goals and provided 10 assists with Liverpool in 36 matches in all competitions since the beginning of the current season, compared to 14 goals and two assists for Sadio Mane during the same number of matches.
Salah Vs Mane
29 years old
Market value: €100m
Records with Egypt:
Records with Liverpool in 2021/22
29 years old
Market value: €80m
Records with Senegal
Records with Liverpool in 2021/22
El Shenawy Vs Mendy
Mohamed El Shenawy
33 years old
Market value: €3m
Records with Al Ahly in 2021/22
Conceded 14 goals
3 clean sheets
Records with Egypt
Conceded 20 goals
17 clean sheet
30 years old
Market value: €32m
Records with Chelsea in 2021/22
Conceded 21 goals
18 clean sheets
Records with Senegal
Conceded 8 goals
12 clean sheets