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Back in business
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 09 - 09 - 2004

A ferocious battle with the Indomitable Lions was expected but, as Nashwa Abdel-Tawab reports, Egypt did the mauling
Egypt edged Cameroon 3-2 in a must-win situation to get back on track in qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup.
The win in Group Three lifted Egypt into second place in the standings, tied with Cameroon and Libya on seven points each after four games. The Ivory Coast is the group leader with nine points after it crushed Sudan 5-0.
Cameroon, attempting to make its sixth World Cup appearance to Egypt's third, came out in confident form but Egypt managed an upset, its first win over the Lions since 1987.
The Pharaohs were without Marseilles-based Ahmed Mido and captain Hazem Emam through injuries. The 21-year-old Mido has yet to play a match in the group stages.
Forward Ahmed Bilal, who has scored 17 goals in only 16 appearances for his country, was also absent after struggling to regain form, while captain Hazem Emam failed to pass a fitness test.
Abdel-Halim Ali, the top scorer in the league, is suspended while Denmark-based Mohamed Zidane was ignored after revealing a desire to play for Denmark instead of Egypt.
But goals by Mohamed Shawki in the 45th minute, Ahmed Hassan in the 71st on a penalty, and Tarek El-Sayed in the 90th gave the home side a 3- 0 lead with only injury time left.
However, Chateaux and FC Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o, African player of the Year, scored in the first and third minutes of injury time, bringing a nervous Arab Contractors stadium crowd of 30,000 to its feet.
Before the win, Egypt had been stumbling with just one win from three games. The media blamed Egypt's poor run on the absence of coach Marco Tardelli who since taking up the post in April, had spent over half his time in his native Italy.
Threatened to be left behind in Group Three, Egypt pulled up its socks against Cameroon. Shawki headed home a cross from Mohamed Abu Treika. Shawki was helped by goalkeeper Idriss Kameni who timed his advance all wrong.
Ahmed Hassan converted a penalty after being brought down by Rigobert Song. Then Tarek El- Sayed who came as a substitute, went on a solo run and unleashed a shot on the edge of the penalty box that went beautifully into the right hand corner of the net for Egypt's third goal.
But amazingly the Cameroonians came close to levelling in the dying minutes of extra time. Chateaux nodded in a bullet header, then Eto'o finished off a brilliant give-and-go.
Egypt's win came none too soon after the Ivory Coast took sole possession of first place.
Chelsea's Didier Drogba, who was taken off injured before half-time, scored the first goal from a penalty as the Ivorians routed Sudan 5-0 in Abidjan. The Ivory Coast, who are proving to be a new force in African football, overran their Sudanese opponents with two goals from Anderlecht's Aruna Dindane and one each from French-based Giles Yapi Yapo and Bakari Kone.
Libya beat Benin 4-1 on Friday thanks to goals from Younes Shebany, Nader Kara, Ahmed Osman and Marei Suliman.
Benin and Sudan have two points and one point respectively.
Group One
Togo is the surprise leader of Group One after its 2-0 victory over Congo in Lome left the Hawks flying above group rivals Zambia and Senegal.
The Togolese took the lead through an own goal from Fabry Makita-Passy, before Sheyi Adebayor ad5ded a decisive second with 20 minutes left.
Togo's second victory of the campaign takes it to seven points, and it leads both the Senegalese and Zambians on goal difference.
A last-minute free-kick from player/coach Kalusha Bwalya earned a 1-0 win over Liberia in Lusaka, but its first place was short-lived.
A victory for Senegal in Bamako would have taken it top but the Teranga Lions were just minutes away from losing to West African rivals Mali when Pape Cire Dia rescued a point for his nation with an 86th-minute equaliser that levelled the match at 2-2.
Mali had twice led in the game and opened the scoring after just three minutes through Mamadou Diallo, who plays for Algeria's USMA.
As the half-time interval approached, Celtic forward Henri Camara grabbed Senegal's first equaliser as he headed home a left-wing cross.
Yet Mali were soon back in front when Tottenham Hotspur forward Freddie Kanoute was set up by Diallo and made no mistake with his finish.
Just when it seemed Mali would achieve its first win of the campaign at the fourth attempt, Dia struck to ensure that the Cup of Nations semi- finalists are still rooted to the bottom of Group One.
Malian hopes of appearing in Germany 2006 would require a dramatic turnaround in fortunes, and it must beat group leaders Togo in Lome next month to kick-start its campaign.
All three Group One ties take place on 10 October, when Senegal face another West African derby against Liberia in Monrovia while Zambia travel to Congo.
Group Two
Ghana beat Cape Verde 2-0 in Kumasi on Sunday to assume pole position. Lyon midfielder Michael Essien converted a first-half penalty after Asamoah Gyan was brought down in the penalty area by Jose Barros.
The Black Stars were dominating the game at that stage, but following the goal the islanders rallied even though they failed to create any clear-cut opportunities.
Just after the hourmark, Nelson de Vega scored an own goal which secured Ghana's victory and left the Black Stars at the top of the group with seven points.
However, the Ghanaians' lead over second- placed DR Congo is on goal difference.
In a packed stadium in Kinshasa, DR Congo beat South Africa 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Kabamba Musasa.
Musasa pounced after diminutive substitute Mbutu Mbala's mazy run took him past two South African defenders and goalkeeper Hans Vonk before he sent the ball across the face of the goal to the goalscorer.
The strike came just three minutes from time and delighted the estimated 80,000 fans in the stadium, who had watched their team miss a number of chances.
Thirteen minutes earlier, Siyabonga Nomvete almost snuck an undeserved goal for Bafana Bafana but he could only head wide.
The result leaves South Africa fourth, behind Burkina Faso, which defeated Uganda 2-0 in Ouagadougou on Saturday.
Group Two, where just three points separate all six teams, resumes next month when Uganda host South Africa on 9 October.
The following day, DR Congo travel to Ghana while Cape Verde is at home to Burkina Faso.
Group Four
Nigeria improved its chances of qualification for the 2006 World Cup with an emphatic 3-0 win over Zimbabwe in Harare. Goals from Julius Aghahowa, Joseph Enakahire and Yakubu Ayegbeni put the Super Eagles at the top.
The Eagles took control of the game from the early stages of the encounter, when Aghahowa scored the opening goal in the third minute.
Joseph Enakahire increased the tally in the 23rd minute, heading home a corner which Zimbabwe's defenders desperately tried to clear.
The exquisite skills of Nigeria captain Jay-Jay Okocha, who was cheered by the appreciative Harare crowd, sealed victory in the 49th minute.
Brought down by Tinashe Nengomasha, who was unable to cope with the midfielder's trickery in the box, earned the Nigerians a penalty that was subsequently converted by Yakubu Ayegbeni.
Nigeria play its next World Cup qualifier against Gabon in Libreville on 9 October, while Zimbabwe meet Angola the following day.
The Angolans assumed second spot in Group Three when they defeated Rwanda 1-0 in Luanda on Sunday.
Attacking midfielder Freddy scored the all-important goal after 51 minutes when he headed home a cross from Flavio.
The Palancas Negras trail group leaders Nigeria by just one point, with the Eagles having picked up nine points in their opening four games.
Rwanda's hopes of appearing in the World Cup seem doomed with the Wasps having lost three of their four qualifiers.
Algeria's hopes of another World Cup appearance was effectively dashed with a 3-0 loss to Gabon in Annaba.
Group Five
Guinea thrashed Botswana 4-0 in Conakry to go two points clear at the top. A penalty from Guinea captain Pascal Feindouno gave the Syli Nationale a narrow half-time lead, but an impressive display in the second half was rewarded with three goals.
After a neat pass from Fode Mansare, Souleymane Youla unleashed a fierce drive that thumped against the crossbar before entering the net after 54 minutes.
The goalscorer then turned provider as he set up Kaba Diawara for Guinea's third, and the striker's fourth in three international games, five minutes later.
As the game entered its closing stages, Mohammed Sylla wrapped up the scoring when he converted a pass from Diawara to delight the 35,000 watching fans.
The win leaves Guinea two points clear of Morocco and three away from African champions Tunisia.
The two teams who contested the 2004 Cup of Nations final faced one another again on Saturday night in Rabat.
As he did in the Nations Cup final, Francileudo dos Santos gave the Carthage Eagles the lead in the first half.
Yet Talal Al-Karkouri struck a deserved equaliser for the home side in the 89th minute when his 35- yard free-kick was deflected past Tunisian stopper Ali Boumnijel.
Following its two-month suspension from international football by world governing body FIFA, Kenya began its group campaign three months late.
However, after just one game, the Harambee Stars lie fourth in the six-team group.
Kenya beat Malawi 3-2 on Saturday. It now has more points than the Malawians and a better goal difference than Botswana, who have conceded eight goals in just two away games.
When Group Five resumes next month, leaders Guinea hosts second-placed Morocco on 10 October while Kenya will be seeking a second straight victory against Botswana. Malawi hosts Tunisia the day before.


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