Match Preview: Tunisia vs. Egypt
Tunisia know victory at home to Egypt will see them finish top of Group G, while the Pharaohs must win to have any chance of reaching January’s Cup of Nations finals.
The consequences of a win or loss for either side couldn’t be any more different. Tunisia could still top their group with defeat to Egypt, however, Egypt’s qualification is largely out their hands.
Shawky Gharib’s side need Guinea and Congo to slip up in their respective fixtures, while they cannot afford DR Congo to beat basement side Sierra Leone by a convincing scoreline. Regardless of the results elsewhere, Egypt must beat in-form Tunisia to have an outside chance of qualification.
Ahead of the match, Tunisia coach Georges Leekens spoke of his pride for Tunisia’s AFCON qualification campaign.
“We managed to qualify with one game to spare, it’s fantastic. It was difficult, but we had the perfect campaign,” said Leekens, as reported by SuperSport.
“I am thinking a little bit about the next World Cup, but we have a lot of work in front of us before that. We qualified for the 2015 AFCON, that’s already something. We will go step by step and see how far Tunisia can go.”
While Gharib’s job could be at stake with the 2010 champions on the brink of not making the finals in Equatorial Guinea.
“I never took any decision to jump ship during my career. I will remain in charge of the national team unless the EFA decide otherwise,” Gharib told the media following his side’s disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Senegal.
Egypt have been dealt a further blow, with goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shennawy and Ibrahim Salah ruled out against the group leaders with injury. Tunisia will be quietly confident they can beat their struggling opponents, after September’s 1-0 victory in Cairo.