Egypt fine-tune ahead of Zim clash

HARARE - The Egypt Football Association (Efa) is leaving no stone unturned to make sure the Pharaohs are in top shape ahead of next month’s 2014 World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe.

Egypt take on the Warriors in Alexandra on March 26 in a crucial Group G qualifier for both sides and Efa has lined a friendly with Qatar.

The North Africans currently lead the group with a maximum six points from two games while Guinea are in second place with three points.

Zimbabwe lies third in the group with just a single point from the 0-0 draw with Mozambique last year.

According to a notice on the Qatar Football Association (QFA) website, the Pharaohs will be in Doha on March 7.

“Qatar will host Egypt in an international friendly on March 7, it emerged on Sunday,” QFA said in the statement.

“The match will be followed by another friendly against Thailand on the 17th of the same month.

“Coached by American Bob Bradley, the Pharaohs are expected to arrive in Doha a day earlier on March 6.

“This will be the second match between the two sides since late December when Egypt won 2-0.

 “However, Qatar was coached by Paulo Autuori when Egypt won on December 28. The current Qatar coach is Fahad Al Thani who guided the team to a win in their last international earlier this month.”

Qatar are using the March 7 friendly to help them prepare for their Asian Cup qualifier against Bahrain on March 22.

The match in Doha will be the Pharaohs’ fourth preparatory match in 2013 alone as they have already sparred with Ghana, Ivory Coast and Chile this year.

Upon their return from the Emirates, the Pharaohs will then play against Swaziland in Alexandria on March 22.

Efa has lined up the Swaziland friendly so that Bradley’s charges can familiarise themselves with Southern African teams as they will then clash with the Warriors a week later.

While Efa is running around to make sure their team is fully prepared for the Warriors, it is not the same case with the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa).
Since the beginning of this year, the Warriors have only played one preparatory match against Botswana on February 6.

Zimbabwe interim coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels took charge of the team for the first time against the Zebras and emerged 2-1 victorious.

Reeling under a debt burden of $4 million debt, Zifa are hoping that the newly-commissioned Zimbabwe Football Trust (ZFT) will act fast to raise the Egypt airfares for the trip.

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