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Egypt FA chairman defends choice of Grozny as training camp site during World Cup

Eslam Omar, Wednesday 27 Jun 2018
Egypt FA chairman Hany Abou Raida
Egypt FA chairman Hany Abou Raida
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The Egyptian Football Association (EFA), under helm of chairman Hani Abu-Rida, has defended the decision to hold the national football team's training camp in Grozny during the 2018 World Cup as well as the team's attendance of a reception with leader of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov.

The choice of Grozny as the site of the team's base has received criticism due to its distance from game venues. The training camp in Grozny was almost three hours away by plane from the playing arenas at Saint Petersburg, Volgograd and Yekaterinburg.

"We had chosen Grozny out of many other candidate cities for our training camp even before the competition draw was held," Abu Rida explained.

"The coach Hector Cuper had decided on Grozny as it was the closest to our arenas. The longest trip was before the Russia game."

Regarding British media criticising Mohamed Salah for appearing at a reception for the national team with controversial president the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov, Abu Rida said "you cannot say no to an invitation from a country's leader."

Egypt, currently ranked 45th globally, lost 1-0 against Uruguay in the opener before being stunned by 70th Russia 3-1 before totally collapsing against 67th Saudi Arabia to earn bottom place at the group A table.

After finally qualifying for the world's most prestigious football event after a 28-year absence, the Egyptian team had frequently repeated that their target at the World Cup was to reach the knock out stage.

Unfortunately, the nation was shocked by a toothless defensive appearance of their over-estimated team, who was carried by injured Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

The Egyptian government, represented by the sports minister, will investigate a series of financial and administrative issues that parliament's Sports Committee described as "serious violations" in the" humiliating exit" of the team during their "disgraceful appearance" at the World Cup.

(For more sports news and updates and a special World Cup 2018 coverage, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports)

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