Veteran Goalie El-Hadary Leads Egypt To Russia As Pharaohs Qualify For 2018 World Cup 28 Years After
The Pharaohs of Egypt became the second country in Africa after Nigeria to qualify for next year’s FIFA World Cup finals after beating Congo 2-1 on Sunday. The achievement came 28 years after when the country last featured at Italia ’90 World Cup finals.
Veteran goalkeeper, Essam El-Hadary is set to lead the team to the Mundial next year, after he swore that he won’t retire until he sees Egypt qualify for a World Cup having seen the ticket slipped in 2009, the 44-year-old goalkeeper has finally seen his dream come true.
With the victory, Egypt move into an unassailable position at the top of their group with one match still to complete. Liverpool striker Mohammad Salah converted a stoppage-time penalty to give Egypt a dramatic 2-1 win over Congo Brazzaville.
Salah put Egypt ahead during the second half in Alexandria only for Arnold Bouka Moutou to equalize two minutes from the end of regular time. Victory gave Egypt an uncatchable four-point lead over Uganda in Group E with one round of fixtures remaining. Uganda were held 0-0 by Ghana in Kampala Saturday.
Egypt last qualified for the World Cup in 1990 with the record seven-time African champions suffering numerous heart-breaking failures since. The desperation to qualify was so great ahead of the Congo match that Argentina-born Egypt coach Hector Cuper admitted he was taking medication for high blood pressure.
“I am taking hypertension medicine due to the stress I suffer from continuing criticism,” he told reporters without specifying who his critics were. Life is full of stress, but the challenge of reaching the World Cup is the toughest stress I have faced.”
Meanwhile, Egypt also beat Congo away and Ghana and Uganda at home to accumulate 12 points, with the only loss away to Uganda.