Egypt moves closer to WCup, Cameroon slips up
Egypt is a win away from a place in Africa’s final playoffs for the World Cup after beating Zimbabwe 4-2 on Sunday to maintain its perfect record in qualifying.
Bob Bradley’s team can win its group with victory over Mozambique next weekend, setting up a final two-legged tie to progress to the World Cup for the first time since 1990.
Mohamed Salah’s hat trick in Harare helped Egypt to four wins from four in Group G, leaving the Egyptians as the only team with a 100 percent record out of Africa’s remaining 40 hopefuls. Egypt is five points clear of Guinea with two games to go and closer to a long-awaited return to the World Cup under the former United States national coach.
Guinea beat Mozambique 6-1 after doubles from France-based striker Sadio Diallo, Mohamed Yattara and Ibrahima Traore but must win at home to Zimbabwe next to prevent Egypt progressing to the playoffs with a game to spare.
In Group I, Cameroon slipped to a 2-0 loss at bottom-place Togo in Lome to allow Libya back into contention. Cameroon and Libya both have six points after four of six games. It was new Cameroon coach Volker Finke’s first game in charge, although he was missing injured striker Samuel Eto’o.
Mali needed a 77th-minute equalizer by Mahamadou Ndiaye for a 1-1 draw at home to Rwanda, giving Algeria a two-point lead and the impetus at the top of Group H after its 3-1 win in Benin.
African Cup of Nations finalist Burkina Faso won 1-0 in Niger on Sunday.
Africa goes straight to its penultimate round of group qualifiers next week with Ethiopia, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Libya and Senegal in pole position for places in the decisive playoffs, which will ultimately decide Africa’s five finalists at Brazil next year.
South Africa, Ghana, African Cup semifinalist Mali and four-time continental champion Cameroon are in danger of missing out.