Egypt gears up for Warriors

HARARE - The Egyptian Football Association (Efa) has already started preparing for the Pharaohs’ 2014 World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe by lining up an international friendly with Chile.

Efa announced yesterday that the record African champions will play against the South American side in Spain next month.

“We had many offers from many teams but we liked Chile the best,” Pharaohs team director director Samir Adly told SuperSport.

“The Efa board held a meeting on Wednesday and they will sign the contracts soon and the match will be played on February 6.”

Egypt host Zimbabwe on March 22 in Cairo in the third match of Group G qualifiers before travelling to Harare for the return leg in June.

The Pharaohs will also play two friendly internationals against Ghana and Ivory Coast on January 10 and 14 in Abu Dhabi.

Adly added: “We will start our camp on Thursday (yesterday) and then we will travel on January 6. We will play the first match against Ghana without Al Ahly’s international players.”

These matches will be instrumental in helping Pharaohs coach Bob Bradley prepare his team as the Egyptian domestic league has been suspended for almost a year following the Port Said disaster that left 74 people dead.

Egypt, who like Zimbabwe, failed to qualify for the upcoming African Nations Cup in South Africa, currently lead Group G of World Cup qualifying with a 100 percent record after two matches.

The Pharaohs have already beaten Guinea 3-2 and Mozambique 2-0 while the Warriors only have one point from two matches.

Zimbabwe lost the first match in this campaign 1-0 to the Syli Nationale at the National Sports Stadium last year before being held nil all by Mozambique.

The Warriors will be playing for the first time under new coach, German Klaus-Dieter Pagels, following the resignation of Rahman Gumbo late last year.

While Efa is busy running around to organise preparatory matches for the Pharaohs, their Zifa counterparts have their hands tied.

The financially-troubled Zifa is yet to find any opponents for the Warriors.

Pagels also has to start reconstructing a new Warriors squad after Zifa disbanded the entire team following the failure to qualify for South Africa.

The team is also still feeling the effects of the Asiagate match-fixing scandal that saw at least 15 officials, players and journalists being handed life bans.

Zifa also fined 53 players for taking part in the fixed matches in Asia between 2007 and 2009. - Sports Writer

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