According to Egypt and former U.S. coach Bob Bradley, El-Sayed will be out for “a few weeks,” and Al Ahly’s Sherif Ekramy will be manning the posts on Sunday in his place. Despite being ruled out, a defiant El-Sayed believes the Pharaohs will reclaim lost glory with qualification for Brazil 2014, starting with a win over Zimbabwe.
“Our chances to qualify for the World Cup are very bright. We came to Zimbabwe to win because we have to qualify,” El-Sayed told Goal. “We are not under any pressure, but it is Zimbabwe, because they are at home. They are a good team and we respect them and know the match would be difficult. But we are a big team and we deserve to compete at the grand stage like the World Cup.”
The record seven-time African champion is bidding for a first appearance at the World Cup since 1990, and is also hard-pressed to reach a grand stage after missing the last two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Bradley is not worried about El-Sayed’s absence and feels the Pharaohs can still go on to snatch three points in Harare after his side won 2-1 in the reverse fixture in Alexandria on March 26.
“Of course El-Sayed is an experienced goalkeeper but we have good cover in Ekramy,” the American manager told Goal. “We have a great opportunity to qualify. To us it is all about the World Cup dream. It is an Egyptian cause and we have to realize the dreams of everyone in Egypt.”
The Egyptians are on the cusp of proceeding to the final playoff round, where 10 teams will fight for five places in Brazil next summer. Zimbabwe is already out of contention for the World Cup and is using the remainder of the qualifiers to prepare for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.