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Bob Bradley’s Egypt squad may not be playing Ghana in Cairo after all

Oct 8, 2013, 11:45 AM EDT

Egypt's head coach Bob Bradley of the U.S. Looks on during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Guinea at El-Gouna stadium in Hurghada Reuters

The Ghana Football Association has written a letter to FIFA requesting next month’s World Cup play-off against Egypt be played at a neutral venue.

The second leg of the play-off, to be played on November 19th, is currently set to be played in Cairo after the Egyptian Football Association granted Bob Bradley’s request to play in the nation’s capital and in front of fans.

MORE: Bob Bradley’s wish granted – Egypt to play in Cairo

Arguing it is too dangerous to play the game in Cairo, Ghana is now requesting FIFA force Egypt to play the match at a “safe and secure” venue. “Our request is premised on the alarming and fast deteriorating security situation in Egypt,” Ghana officials wrote.

With last week’s riots in Cairo resulting in the deaths of 51 people, the GFA claimed some of its players expressed “grave concern over their safety for the match.”

“Much as we sympathize with our brothers at the Egyptian Football Association, we are highly concerned about the security and safety of our players, officials and supporters and would like Fifa to take the necessary steps to protect lives and from both Ghana and Egypt during the second-leg game,” the letter stated.

The GFA’s letter also notes that for the past two years Egyptian authorities have barred spectators from football matches, including World Cup qualifiers against Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Guinea.

The request, while not by any means surprising or unreasonable, will serve to frustrate Bradley.

After overcoming incredible odds both on and off the pitch to win all six of their group stage games in the qualifying process (the only team in the world to go unbeaten during such a stretch), the Egyptians were dealt a difficult blow when they drew the 2010 World Cup quarter-finalists for the play-offs.

Through the entire qualifying process thus far, political uproar and violence has forced Egypt to play its matches outside of the capital city, in places like Alexandria and the seaside resort of El Gouna. The decision to award Egypt a match in Cairo with fans in the stadium was a major coup for Bradley, whose squad faces a tricky first leg match up in Kumasi on October 15th.

  1. tylerbetts - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    This would be unfortunate for Egypt. Hopefully, the request is not granted.

    However, if it is, how about we have it here in the States where love of Bob Bradley can combine with frustration against Ghana and give them a nice, partisan crowd. (And, yes, I know – this would never actually happen)

  2. htowngooner - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    It’s obvious that it’s gamesmanship on Ghana’s part, but hard not to be surprised if they go through with the request. Sucks, Bradley worked really hard to get that game in Cairo so that they can play for them and give everybody something to cheer about considering all the turmoil around

  3. charlesmwray - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Way to keep it classy, Ghana.

  4. hildezero - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    That is classy on Ghana’s part. They just want to play in a safe and secure environment for their players, coaches, and fans so I don’t blame them. But I hope it stays in Egypt so they can have home field advantage and it would make it more easier for them to qualify for the WC.

    • the0verheadwire - Oct 8, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      If this is what Ghana believes, then they should play both games on neutral fields. It’s not fair to have one in Ghana and another on a neutral field.

  5. ndnut - Oct 8, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Could it at least be moved to Alexandria where it could be a home game rather than a neutral site?

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