Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Egypt defender Ahmed Elmohamady, left. Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi / AP Photo
Egypt defender Ahmed Elmohamady, left. Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi / AP Photo

Egypt’s Ahmed Elmohamady: ‘We must play like these are last two games of our lives’

Egypt take on Ghana tonight in the first leg of a play-off that could take them to their first World Cup since 1990.

Egypt are two games away from what could be their most impressive achievement, and what could be one of sport’s most remarkable stories. They take on Ghana Tuesday in the first leg of a play-off that could take them to their first World Cup since 1990.

The Pharaohs have come to this stage in Kumasi on the back of the only flawless campaign in Africa, winning six games out of six. They have done it in a time of intense political turmoil back home and with, effectively, no domestic league, intermittently suspended after the Port Said tragedy in February 2012.

“You know it is a huge country and all the people there love football,” the Hull City right-back Ahmed Elmohamady said.

“It is a huge, huge thing. Now we play in a qualifier for a World Cup, now we go against Ghana, just two games, home and away, and we have to win them. We have to all get together, concentrate on these two games, play them like the last two games of our life.”

Ghana are about as tough an opponent as they could have drawn; the Black Stars finished four points clear of the 2012 African Cup of Nations champions Zambia at the top of qualifying Group D. Ghana are aiming for a third successive trip to football’s biggest event, and they were quarter-finalists at South Africa 2010.

“Egypt are seven-time African champions and trying to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1990,” said Ghana’s coach Kwesi Appiah. “That will give them some added boost going into the game. Their record means that we cannot look down on them. We can’t get complacent. We have to prepare well and remain focused.”

Egypt, under the American coach Bob Bradley, have played all their games in Egypt behind closed doors because of security concerns. But that has not visibly affected them; if anything it has emboldened them.

“It’s not been difficult,” Elmohamady said. “There are things happening, of course, but we can play and know our fans are behind us. It has helped us, definitely.”

Something will have to give. Egypt have not lost a competitive game since June 2012 and Ghana have not lost at home since February 2012, an unbeaten run since of 11 matches.


8pm, Al Jazeera Sport 2

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Marina Square apartments Reem Island: Q1 2% rise. Studio - Dh65-68,000. 1BR - Dh75-95,000. 2BR - Dh110-145,000. 3BR - Dh170-190,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 no change. Sammy Dallal / The National

In pictures: Where Abu Dhabi rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Abu Dhabi have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 A model of the plans for Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District, which was on display at the Global Cityscape exhibition at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre last year. Ali Haider / EPA

Building the future on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island

Nick Leech meets Jassim Al Hammadi, the engineer charged with providing the services that will make the Saadiyat Cultural District tick.

 Business class seats inside the Emirates Airbus A380. Chip East / Reuters

In it for the long haul: flying 16 hours with Emirates to LA

Our executive travel reviewer tries out the business class offering on Emirates' longest A380 route - and finds time passing quickly.

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 From left: Alex Ritman, his favorite waiter and friend Andy Tillett at Baithal Ravi in 2009. Courtesy Alex Ritman

Lamenting Bur Dubai’s Baithal Ravi Restaurant

When I heard that a fire had ripped through the restaurant known as Ravis in the Bur Dubai district of Dubai, my outburst was met with echoed monosyllabic despair among numerous friends on social media.

 Screen shot from Vin Deisel's facebook page of he and Michelle Rodriguez in Abu Dhabi for the filming of Fast & Furious 7. April 2014

Fast & Furious in Abu Dhabi, a social media frenzy

Fast & Furious 7 wraps up an eventful and much-anticipated week of filming in the capital. Let's take a look at what went on via the key players' social media, while they were enjoying the delights of the desert.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National