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Easy draw for Egypt
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 04 - 08 - 2011

Egypt was handed an easy start at the qualifications of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Inas Mazhar writes
The Preliminary Draw which took place at the Marina da Gloria in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday kicked off the 2014 FIFA World Cup in typically exuberant style with a festival of music and football.
Being placed with Guinea and Zimbabwe and either the Comoros or Mozambique in group seven, it looks like an easy start for the Egyptians who failed to make it to last year's World Cup in South Africa 2010.
A new head coach for the Pharaohs was expected to be named during this week in order to lead Egypt in the coming critical period.
The beautifully decked-out Marina da Gloria provided the perfect setting for Brazilian President Dilma Roussef, who took to the stage to declare: "Brazil has now been admired for a lot more than its football, its music and its popular celebrations. I invite people from the whole world to meet Brazil and the Brazilians.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter had earlier opened proceedings, saying: "We are very happy to be back in Brazil 61 years after the last FIFA World Cup here, in a country whose heart beats with football. Brazil has always produced stars that make world football richer.
Former Brazil captain Cafu had been asked to conduct the draw for Africa, and the 2002 world champion made his way onto the stage accompanied by the rising star of Brazilian football, Neymar, fresh from scoring an incredible goal for Santos just a few days ago. The pair took to their task with relish, and when matters had been decided, C--�te d'Ivoire and Morocco were left ruing their luck at being handed such a tough group.
A final video promoting sport as a source of hope for a better future marked the end of a memorable show that set the seal on the qualifying procedure for football's greatest showpiece. Let Brazil 2014 begin!
As far as Egypt is concerned, the draw for the African Zone came as follows:
Group A: South Africa, Botswana, Central African Republic, Somalia or Ethiopia
Group B: Tunisia, Cape Verde Islands, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea or Madagascar
Group C: C�ïte d'Ivoire, Morocco, Gambia, Chad or Tanzania
Group D: Ghana, Zambia, Sudan, Lesotho or Burundi
Group E: Burkina Faso, Gabon, Niger, Sao Tome e Principe or Congo
Group F: Nigeria, Malawi, Seychelles or Kenya, Djibouti or Namibia
Group G: Egypt, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Comoros or Mozambique
Group H: Algeria, Mali, Benin, Eritrea or Rwanda
Group I: Cameroon, Libya, Guinea-Bissau or Togo, Swaziland or Congo DR
Group J: Senegal, Uganda, Angola, Mauritius or Liberia
Days before the draw, FIFA had set the preliminary competition format and draw procedures. The African Zone, where Egypt competes, will be played on three rounds.
In round one, the 24 lowest-ranked Participating Member Associations (PMAs), PMA Rank 29 through to PMA Rank 52 (based on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of July 2011), will contest Round One. The 24 teams will be paired into 12 home-and-away series. The matches are foreseen to be played in the period 11-15 November 2011. The 12 series winners advance to Round Two.
The winner of Series 1 will be identified as "Winner 1'; the winner of Series 2, "Winner 2', and so on.
In round two, the 12 Round One winners will then join the remaining 28 PMAs in Round Two. The 40 teams will be drawn into ten round-robin, home-and-away groups of four teams each.
The matches are foreseen to be played in the period 1 June 2012 to 10 September 2013. The ten group winners advance to Round Three.
In round three, the ten group winners from Round Two will contest Round Three. The ten teams will be paired into five home-and-away series. The matches are to be played in the periods 11-15 October and 15-19 November 2013.
The five teams that win their respective series qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

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