Pharaohs are on the verge of an unwanted record of failing to qualify for the biennial tournament three times in row, with a 1-0 home defeat by Senegal on Saturday condemning them to a third-place finish in Group G.
Date & Time: 19 Nov 2014 – 21:00 Cairo Local Time
Tunisia and Senegal have already sealed passage to the Equatorial Guinea finals with one match to spare, leaving record seven-time winners Egypt, who have six points, contemplating the highly unlikely target of finishing as the best third-placed side among the seven groups.
To stand a chance of doing so, they need to defeat Tunisia in Monastir and hope results in other groups go their way. Given Egypt’s recent lackluster displays in a disastrous group stage campaign, which included two defeats by Senegal and a loss to Tunisia, Egyptian fans and pundits doubt the Pharaohs can win on the road.
“We still have hope, and we are going to Tunisia for a win,” Gharib said following the loss to Senegal, which came via a dreadful blunder from goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shennawy.
The 55-year-old was given a vote of confidence by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) before the Senegal clash but the governing body is likely to take into consideration the strong rebuke he faced in the past few days when they decide his fate following the end of the qualifiers.
“I’m building a team for the future. Some of the players who played against Senegal were making their first international appearance,” Gharib said.
“I told the players following this defeat that there is still hope we can make it to the Nations Cup finals. There are still three points up for grabs and a win could make a difference.
“After the match it will be up to the EFA to decide whether we continue our job,” added Gharib, who previously said he should be given the same chance his predecessor Bob Bradley had when, under the American’s guidance, Egypt failed to reach the 2013 Nations Cup before falling at the last hurdle in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.