According to a report by published by the International Football Federation (FIFA) on their official website, Hassan Shehata may be the greatest Egypt coach of all time and perhaps even the greatest coach in the history of African football.
“The former Zamalek forward sealed his place in the annals of the game by leading the Pharaohs to three consecutive African Cup of Nations (ACN) titles from 2006 onwards,” stated FIFA's report on Friday.
According to FIFA, the loss against Algeria that denied the Egyptian team contention in the 2010 World Cup may be the only disappointment in Shehata’s distinguished career.
Despite the recent achievements of the experienced coach, the football governing body considers Shehata a controversial figure in Egypt as he has been both idolized and vilified.
The report also highlighted the straight-talking nature of the former Arab Contractors coach noting some of his famous quotes.
The coach said after refusing the Nigerian offer following
"I’m sad to have had to turn down Nigeria’s offer," Shehata had said when he was asked to coach the Nigerian team after clinching the African title last January, "It would have been a chance for an Arab coach to lead an African team at the World Cup. At the same time, though, I’m happy to see that the Egyptian Football Association want to keep me and refuse to let me go.”
On accusations that he is using magic in his work, Shehata had said, "Some are saying that I use magic and that all my results come from that. If that’s true, why didn’t I qualify for the World Cup? It’s just superstition.”
As for the Egyptian team's disappointing results in the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers, Shehata explains, "We’re going through a rough patch right now. We’re playing with 75 per cent of the team out. We’re in a rebuilding phase. At least, with the difficulties we’re having, we’ve given some free publicity to a few forgotten teams.”