Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny is confident that the current crop of Egyptian players can qualify the national team for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Goals from Mohamed Salah and Abdallah Said secured a 2-0 victory for the Pharaohs against the Black Stars of Ghana in a crunch Group E encounter at the Borg El Arab Stadium on Sunday, allow the Egyptians to top the standings after two wins from two games.
The score was not a true reflection of what happened on the pitch, however, as the visiting Ghanaians dominated possession and forced Egypt keeper Essam El Hadary into a few excellent saves, but they could not find the elusive goal to reward their efforts.
Despite the relatively poor overall Egyptian performance in the game, the three points went the way of the Pharaohs, and that is all that really matters according to Elneny.
‘It’s not vital to put in a good performance, winning is more important,’ Elneny told reporters after the match.
‘Ghana are a strong team and have great players. We let their players control the possession but they still failed to pose any threat on our goal throughout the 90 minutes.’
Referring to the possibility of qualifying Egypt to take part in the World Cup for the first time since 1990, Elneny believed that it was possible, mentioning the end-goal as the nation’s collective dream.
‘I trust in the abilities of the current generation to achieve Egypt’s dream of reaching the World Cup,’ he added.
The Egyptians have turned the corner since Argentine Hector Cuper took over as national team coach, having qualified for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in a few editions, while looking strong in the World Cup qualification campaign.
They look well-placed to secure a Russia 2018 spot at the expensive of Ghana, which would be a huge upset, considering the fact that the Black Stars have been mainstays at the showpiece event since 2006, coming close to progressing to the semi-finals in 2010 if it were not for the hands of Uruguay’s Luis Suarez.