Soccer: 2012 Nations Cup Qualifier

Egypt v South Africa – Sunday 5th June- Cairo Military Academy Stadium (20:30)

Katlego Mphela

Katlego Mphela

With all the domestic football out the way, international football takes the hot seat. Both Europe and Africa turn their attention to qualification for their respected international campaigns.

Egypt have dominated African football for the past decade, setting a record in last year’s African Nations Cup by being the first country to win it on three consecutive occasions. “The Pharaohs” have had a bit of a slump in recent times and face the possibility of not qualifying for next year’s tournament. Egypt has had a policy of retaining a similar team throughout their 10 year dominance, but is facing a major problem in that their players are now aging and are nearing retirement. The likes of Mohamed Aboutrika, Sayed Moawad and club captain Essam El-Hadary are all coming to the end of their international careers and have been the faces of this historic Egyptian team. Manager Hassan Shehata has now turned to youth and recently stated that it will take some time to groom these youngsters into the formidable force they have been in recent years.  Mohamed Zidan is the sensation for “The Pharaohs” as he currently ply’s his trade in the German Bundesliga and has made a name for himself throughout world football. The manager will look to Zidan to provide experience amongst a youthful Egyptian team and help steer them into the African Nations Cup.

“Bafana Bafana” have currently moved up to 38th spot in the Fifa world rankings and the future is looking bright once again. Pitso Mosimane has taken over the reign from Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira and has held his own thus far. Pitso was assistant during the Brazilians helm and has picked up a few pointers from the world cup winning manager. He has opted to bring in plenty of youth as he starts to assemble a squad for the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. He has already replaced long standing captain Aaron Mokoena and has given the armband to Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar. Pienaar has been a figure of the team since the previous World cup and will play a big role in providing experience amongst the youngsters. The likes of Andile Jali, Happy Jele and Simphiwe Tshabalala have all had successful seasons and will be looking to continue their form during international duty. Pitso Mosimane has managed to get the right ingredients to accompany all these players and put together a team that will attempt to bring back the glory days of 1996.

This encounter has a lot at stake and both teams will be going all out to get the victory. For Egypt, their fate lies in their own hands as a defeat will see them fail to qualify. South Africa have had a transformation in recent times and look the best bet to do the double over “The Pharaohs”.

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