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Friday, 15 November 2019

Meet the candidates for Egypt's hot managerial seat

Egypt on the lookout for a new coach following the sacking of Mexican Javier Aguirre after a dismal African Nations Cup campaign

Hatem Maher , Tuesday 27 Aug 2019
Egypt
Egypt's Ahmed Elmohamady celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates (Photo: Reuters)
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A new Egyptian Football Association board was handed the daunting task of picking a new coach for the national team amid little options after the country opted against bringing in a foreign tactician.

Mexican Javier Aguirre was dismissed after an embarrassing African Nations Cup campaign saw Egypt bow out at the last-16 stage after a 1-0 loss to South Africa on home soil in July.

Here is a list of the potential candidates for Egypt's hot seat.

Hassan Shehata

Hassan Shehata

Deemed one of Egypt's best managers of all time, Shehata is tipped by local media as one of the frontrunners to take over for a second spell, given the huge success he enjoyed in his previous stint.

Under his guidance, the Pharaohs won an unprecedented hat-trick of Nations Cup titles in 2006, 2008 and 2010, displaying an attractive brand of football in the process.

They produced some vivid attacking displays to crush some of the continent's heavyweights such as Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Although Shehata's abilities can never be doubted, there are still concerns that he might not be able to replicate his past success, given his age (72 years) as well as the scarcity of talents in Egyptian football.

Shehata has had little success since leaving Egypt in 2011 after taking charge of the likes of Cairo's Zamalek, the club where he made his name as a player, Qatar's Al-Arabi, Morocco's Difaa El Jadidi and Egyptian duo Arab Contractors and Petrojet.

Hossam El-Badri

Hossam El Badry

Another strong favourite is Hossam El-Badri, who made his name guiding Egypt and Africa's most popular club Ahly on three occasions.

He led them to two Egyptian Premier League titles, one Egypt Cup and one African Champions League and was lauded for rebuilding the team following the departure of iconic boss Manuel Jose in 2012.

His third reign came to an end after the 2017/2018 season was concluded as he paid the price of some poor results, with Ahly losing in the Champions League final, exiting the Egypt Cup at the hands of unfancied Al-Assiouty and losing to Cairo rivals Zamalek on the final day of the league, which they had already won.

Reports say some EFA board members are reluctant to pick the 59-year-old, given his tense relationship with Ahly fans after he took up a senior administrative role at Pyramids FC, whose previous Saudi owner used to launch scathing attacks at the Red Devils.

El-Badri's disastrous spell in charge of Egypt's U-23 side, which saw them finish at the bottom of their group at the 2015 Nations Cup, is also another valid concern.

Ihab Galal  

 Ihab Galal

The rookie coach will be a surprise selection should he get the job but he is regarded as an up-and-coming manager after turning usual mid-table outfits to top-four challengers.

He rose to prominence during a three-year spell with Maqassa, leading them to a historic place in the Champions League after they finished as runners up in the domestic league in 2017, behind champions Ahly.

He also made an instant impact with Enppi after taking charge of the club in the same year but his tenure was brief as Zamalek came calling.

However, his first stint in charge of a high-profile club turned out to be a disappointment, with Zamalek losing eight and drawing two of their 17 matches under him, which included a shocking African Confederation Cup exit at the hands of Ethiopia's Welayta Dicha in the preliminary round.

He then moved to Masry last season, turning around their fortunes after they made a poor start to the season to finish fourth and book a spot in the Confederation Cup, Africa's secondary club competition.

Galal's focus on a short-passing game and building up play from deep might be appealing for fans, but it remains risky and could back-fire in the same way it did with Zamalek.

Hossam Hassan

Hossam Hassan

Egypt's all-time leading scorer and one of the national team's best ever footballers has been craving this job for so long.

He has every reason to believe he can fit in easily.

Although his managerial career, which started more than 10 years ago, has yielded no trophies, he can still be proud of the impact he left at every team he managed, including Masry, which he led for three spells.

Last year, he steered the Port Said-club to a semi-final spot at the Confederation Cup before departing to take charge of the big-spending Pyramids FC, but his stint was short-lived after a series of disappointing results.

Hassan also famously brought Jordan to within touching distance of a historic place at the 2014 World Cup, only to suffer an embarrassing 5-0 defeat by Uruguay in a two-legged playoff. He  is now in charge of Alexandria-based club Smouha.

Hassan's motivational talks and his admirable ability to get the best out of his players are clear assets, but the fact that he is a fiery-tempered coach might not go down well with EFA officials.

The 53-year-old has been involved in numerous disciplinary problems, both as a player and coach.

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