The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) has been closely monitoring the football environment in Egypt ahead of a crucial 2010 World Cup qualifying match between the Egyptian national team and their Algerian rivals.
Faced with mounting pressures days before the decisive match, FIFA has addressed a correspondence to the Egyptian football body, strongly warning them against any excesses or unwarranted incidents during the match between Egypt and Algeria, earmarked for the 14th of November in Cairo, in the framework of the 6th and final day of the combined 2010 World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifications.
The leading world football body indicated in its correspondence that they had acquired “directly and via the media” information about mounting tensions ahead of the match.
“In this regard, we feel it is timely to remind you that FIFA is clearly monitoring all the activities around this matchday. FIFA reconfirms that the preliminary competition for the 2010 World Cup should end as it began, in the spirit of fair play with the necessary cooperation of all the parties…” stated the international football federation in its correspondence.
FIFA has also announced that a delegation will “arrive one day earlier in Cairo, namely on Wednesday 11 November to help facilitate the necessary cooperation and dialogue required for such an important event.”
With an outsized three goal difference needed to allow them sail through to the 2010 World Cup, the Egyptian team has found itself under a feverish pressure. “I’m stressed. The responsibility is very high on my shoulders because there are 80 million Egyptians awaiting this appointment,” Hassen Shehata, coach of the Egyptian national team, told Al Gamhuria, an Arabic language newspaper. He also admitted that the players are under the same pressure and are aware of the huge responsibility awaiting them.
Mr. Shehata also urged Egyptian supporters not press the players during the game. 80 000 Egyptian fans are expected at the Cairo stadium to support their national team, the Pharaohs, against Algeria.