Javier Aguirre, the newly named coach for Egypt national soccer team holds a jersey reading 2022 with Egyptian FA head Hany Abo Rida (L) and member of Egypt FA, Magdy Abdelghany (R) in Cairo, Egypt August 2, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)
The Egyptian Football Association (EFA), under helm of elected chairman Hani Abou-Rida, unveiled Mexican Javier Aguirre as the coach of Egypt's national team in a press conference held Thursday in the association's headquarters in Cairo.
"Aguirre's contract includes several conditions. He will be assisted by two foreigners for a total of $120,000 per month for him and his assistants. He will get a bonus of $500,000 in case of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup," Abou-Rida revealed, adding that the financial details reach EGP 100 million over four years.
The 59-year-old tactician is replacing Argentinean manager Hector Cuper who led the Pharaohs this summer in Egypt's first World Cup since 1990, but disappointed football-obsessed Egyptians with three defeats, which some deemed due to his conservative tactics.
The association's insistence on hiring a foreigner contrasts with the demands of critics that an Egyptian coach be hired, recalling memories of the golden era of Hassan Shehata, who was under consideration by EFA, as well as former Ahly coach Hossam El-Badry, current Masry coach Hossam Hassan, and Smouha's Talaat Youssif.
"Ahly and Zamalek prevented us from contracting an Egyptian coach. They preferred to contract a foreigner with a strong personality and ability to impose control and style on the players," EFA board member Magdy Abdel-Ghany explained.
I am proud to coach Egypt: Aguirre
Former Mexico and Japan coach Aguirre, who took charge of several Spanish clubs, including Atletico Madrid and Espanyol, has expressed delight over his new job, promising glories ahead.
''I am happy to be here after 20 years of my coaching career. This is my first time to coach in Africa, but I have enough experience in the World Cup. I am excited and proud to be in charge of a big team like Egypt,'' Aguirre said.
''I'll start my work by watching recorded matches and analysing them, to know the points of weakness and strengths of the team. I'll work on watching each and every thing and I'll use the break period to cope with the players, despite its shortness,'' he added, saying he will watch the Ahly-Ismaily league match Thursday.
"My main goal is to improve performance of the current group and make the Egyptians happy with the performance of the team," Aguirre said.
"I respect the way Hector Cuper played, but my way is completely different and there will be a total change in the team's view and play with strong pressure on the opponent when the ball is lost. My main goal now is to qualify for the African Nations Cup in Cameron."
Aguirre's first competitive match in charge of Egypt will be against Niger next month in the 2019 Nations Cup qualifiers. The seven-time African champions won the last of their record eight continental titles in 2010.
I will fight to make Egypt the best team in the world: Aguirre
The Mexican appeared ambitious in statements like, "I have great ambitions and dreams for Egypt to have the best team in Africa and in the world, and I will fight for the team to be the best in the world."
"I will work to improve performance and make the team fight to continue starring in the Africa Cup of Nations and then the World Cup."
My match-fixing case is closed: Aguirre
Aguirre has faced match-fixing charges in Spain, where prosecutors in February said he could be sentenced to two years in prison if convicted in a case involving 36 players and former club officials.
He has denied any wrongdoing, but Japan fired him as coach in 2015 for his ties to the investigation.
"I have always had questions about the issue of Spanish league manipulation. The case was six years ago and nothing has happened and has been completely closed," Aguirre said.
The 59-year-old led Mexico to the CONCACAF Gold Cup title in 2009 and steered them to a place in the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup.
He was in charge of several Spanish clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Espanyol and Osasuna, and won domestic titles with Mexico's Pachuca and United Arab Emirates club Al-Wahda.
Egyptians were shocked by the weak showing of the national team at the World Cup, losing to Uruguay, Russia and even Saudi Arabia, with the team largely carried by England's declared best footballer, Mohamed Salah, prompting many to slam the EFA board.
The criticism has been fading gradually, with the elected board refusing to resign and no follow-up announced on a review by the sports ministry and parliament of their work.
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