World Cup: Bob Bradley's Egypt to play 2nd leg of playoff vs. Ghana in front of fans in Cairo
Bob Bradley and the Egyptian national team will get their wish.
The Pharaohs will play in Cairo for the first time in two years when they take on Ghana on Nov. 19 in the second leg of their World Cup playoff at 30 June Stadium, the Egyptian Football Association announced Wednesday.
The EFA also said fans will be allowed at the match, which will be for a shot at Egypt’s first World Cup berth since 1990. Bradley, Egypt’s coach since 2011, called for the game to be played in the violence-plagued capital city in front of fans to boost his side’s home-field advantage.
“We would love to play in Cairo," Bradley had said after the playoff draw last week in Cairo. "That is the dream of the team."
Egypt’s last game in Cairo was a 3-0 win over Niger in October 2011, four months before a deadly riot at a league game in the Mediterranean city of Port Said left more than 70 fans dead.
Since then, political turmoil and persistent violence in Cairo and the country’s other major cities has forced Egypt’s national team to play in Alexandria and in the Red Sea resort of El Gouna.
The 30 June Stadium, constructed by Egyptian Air Defense, has a capacity of 30,000 and the EFA said it would be full for the Ghana game.
Egypt advanced to the playoff after being the only team to take the maximum 18 points in the second round of African qualifying. But because they were ranked 50th in the September FIFA World Rankings – sixth-best of all 10 African group winners – they were relegated to Pot 2, and faced a pairing with a team from a Pot 1 that included Ivory Coast, Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria or Tunisia.
The draw conducted last week at African Confederations headquarters in Cairo confirmed that Ghana — the 24th-ranked team in the world and a quarterfinalist at the 2010 World Cup — would be Bradley & Co.'s opponent.
The first leg of the playoff is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Ghana.