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For all their prowess at the last two continental championships, and their glittering array of successes at club level, Egyptian soccer is becoming increasingly haunted by the spectre of continued failure to make it to biggest footballing showpiece of them all.
That means a pressured preparation for the country ahead of the start of the vital final phase of qualifiers for the 2010 finals in South Africa.
Already protesting supporters have managed to disrupt training during the week in Cairo as the Pharaohs prepared for Sunday’s Group C game against Zambia.