Egypt coach Aguirre takes responsibility for stunning AFCON exit

Mahmoud Elassal , Sunday 7 Jul 2019,
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Egypt coach Javier Aguirre
Egypt coach Javier Aguirre (Photo: REUTERS)

Egypt coach Javier Aguirre took responsibly of a shock elimination from the Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 as South Africa sprang a major upset by snatching a late 1-0 win in Cairo on Saturday.

Thembinkosi Lorch netted the decisive goal five minutes from time after finishing off a neatly-worked breakaway, with Egypt paying the price of their defensive frailties as they needlessly poured forward en masse to settle the tie before extra time.

Mexican boss Aguirre said before the tournament that he was under pressure to win the title after Egypt won the rights to host it, but he is now likely to be shown the door after a stunning exit.

The elimination marked Egypt's worst-ever performance as hosts. They twice won the tournament as hosts in 1986 and 2006, losing in the final in 1959 and the semi-finals in 1974.

"I am the one responsible [for Egypt's exit]," Aguirre told the post-match news conference.

Aguirre was criticized for snubbing Zamalek's in-form left back Abdallah Gomaa and for leaving out the likes of Zamalek winger Mahmoud Kahraba and Ahly's Ramadan Sobhi.

"I'm responsible for all the selections and the end results, but I'm still proud of this group of players," he added.

The 60-year-old also said he would discuss his future with the Egyptian Football Association officials.

"The next step will be decided after I meet with the Egyptian FA board tomorrow," he stated.

Despite bagging maximum nine points in the group stage with wins over unfancied sides Zimbabwe, DR Congo and Uganda, Egypt were far from convincing as they could only produce wormanlike performances.

A disciplined South Africa side shackled Egypt's key marksman Salah and launched repeated counter attacks, which eventually gave them a memorable win. Even when the Pharaohs did breach their steadfast defence, Mahmoud Trezeguet was guilty of two glaring misses.

"The game was open and witnessed scoring chance; the only  difference was that South Africa scored a goal that helped them to qualify," Aguirre said.

"We also had our chances but couldn't convert them."

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Group A W D L P
Egypt
3 0 0 9
Uganda
1 1 1 4
DR Congo
1 0 2 3
Zimbabwe
0 1 2 1
Group B W D L P
Madagascar
2 1 0 7
Nigeria
2 0 1 6
Guinea
1 1 1 4
Burundi
0 0 3 0
Group C W D L P
Algeria
3 0 0 9
Senegal
2 0 1 6
Kenya
1 0 2 3
Tanzania
0 0 3 0
Group D W D L P
Morocco
3 0 0 9
Cote d'Ivoire
2 0 1 6
South Africa
1 0 2 3
Namibia
0 0 3 0
Group E W D L P
Mali
2 1 0 7
Tunisia
0 3 0 3
Angola
0 2 1 2
Mauritania
0 2 1 2
Group F W D L P
Ghana
1 2 0 5
Cameroon
1 2 0 5
Benin
0 3 0 3
Guinea Bissau
0 1 2 1