Egypt opt against renewing Cuper contract after poor World Cup campaign

Hatem Maher , Tuesday 26 Jun 2018,
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Egypt head coach Hector Cuper
Egypt head coach Hector Cuper (Photo: AP)

Coach Hector Cuper will leave Egypt after the national football association opted against renewing his contract, which expired following the team's nightmarish World Cup campaign.

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) said on Tuesday it was "thanking the technical staff following the end of its contract", a reference that it would not extend Cuper's deal.

"We will hold a news conference tomorrow to answer all the questions," the EFA said on its Twitter account.

Since his arrival in March 2015, Cuper has been widely credited for turning around the fortunes of an ailing side which failed to qualify for three straight Nations Cup titles, with his emphasis on tightening what used to be a porous defence proving highly efficient.

Under his guidance, Egypt reached the 2017 African Nations Cup final in Gabon, where they lost to Cameroon in the final, before ending a 28-year wait for a World Cup appearance following a dramatic 2-1 win over Congo in Alexandria last October.

However, the Pharaohs faltered badly when it mattered most, losing their three Group A games at the Russia finals.

Struggling to cope without talisman Mohamed Salah, who was not fully fit after a shoulder injury, Egypt conceded a last-gasp goal to lose 1-0 to Uruguay in their opening game. 

They welcomed back Salah for the decisive encounter against Russia but collapsed in a 15-minute second-half spell to suffer a 3-1 defeat which ended their hopes of reaching the knockout stage.

They also lost the battle for pride against already-eliminated Saudi Arabia, shipping another goal at the death to slump to a 2-1 loss on Monday, which incensed Egyptian fans who hurled obscenities at the team as the players boarded their bus following the match in Volgograd.

Many supporters and pundits believed Cuper's defensive-minded approach was not enough to counter sturdy opponents such as the mighty Uruguay and the physically tough side Russia.

The Argentinean failed to execute his trademark counter attacks, defending deep and inviting his opponents to pile up relentless pressure that was hard to take for the overburdened defenders.

"We’ve been told over and over again we were too defensive but we qualified for the World Cup with the same approach, and for the first time in 28 years," Cuper said after the defeat by Saudi Arabia.

"We got to the final of the African Nations Cup playing in this way. Sometimes I feel there is a need to criticise the performance just because we lost."

Egypt will now look for a more attacking-minded manager as they aim to rediscover the kind of "pretty football" they used to play under Hassan Shehata, the mastermind of their three successive Nations Cup triumphs in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Their next competitive game is against Niger in September in the 2019 Nations Cup qualifiers.

(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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