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Saturday, 29 February 2020

2019 sports year-ender: Pharaohs await change

In a series of stories, Ahram Online compiles the remarkable sporting events of 2019

Mahmoud Elassal , Monday 30 Dec 2019
Egypt National Team
File Photo: Egypt's Mohamed Salah and Mohamed Elneny look dejected after Tunisia's first goal. (Photo: Reuters)
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2019 wasn't kind to the Pharaohs. While Egypt have been looking to build on their success under Hector Cuper who led the team to their first World Cup in 2018 in 28 years, the team struggled under Mexican coach Javier Aguirre.

Unlike his predecessor, Aguirre opted for offensive tactics, much appealing to Egyptian fans, but he failed to make the intended impact.

The seven-time African Champions suffered a shock exit from the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 round of 16 held at home following a 1-0 defeat against South Africa.

In the aftermath, Aguirre was sacked and the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) board resigned. A new interim committee tasked with running the EFA named Hossam El-Badry the new coach on 19 September.

The 59-year-old tactician struggled in his debut as he had to do without inspirational forward Mohamed Salah.

Under the helm of El-Badry, Egypt played four games as they hardly beat Botswana and Liberia in friendlies with the same score of 1-0 then were held to 1-1 draws in their debut of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers by Kenya and Comoros.

"El-Badry was unlucky during his debut with Egypt's national team due to the absence of Mohamed Salah, as we spent several years depending on the performance of the Liverpool star," the EFA boss Amr El-Ganainy told the media.

"The coming game will be better. Sure it won’t be like the previous ones," El-Ganainy added.

The Pharaohs hope to turn their fortunes around in 2020 as they enter the 2022 World Cup qualifiers and the African qualifiers. 

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