Egypt name Portuguese Vitoria as new coach

Hatem Maher , Tuesday 12 Jul 2022

Egypt named Rui Vitoria as their new coach in the early hours of Tuesday, with the Portuguese taking over following the sudden dismissal of Ehab Galal after just three matches in charge.

Rui Vitoria
Rui Vitoria (L) signs a four-year contract to take charge of the Egyptian national team, along with EFA board member Hazem Emam (Photo: the EFA s official Facebook page)


Vitoria, a two-time Portuguese league winner with Benfica, signed a four-year contract, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) said.

Egypt sought a foreign replacement for Galal after his short tenure had brought a chorus of criticism over the criteria on which he was picked.

Former Egypt and Zamalek playmaker Hazem Emam, now an EFA board member, originally opposed the decision to appoint Galal, arguing that an Egyptian coach would not handle the intense media pressure the job entails.

His assessment turned out to be accurate, with the former Zamalek and Pyramids FC boss coming under fire after Egypt labored to a 1-0 home win over Guinea in their opening African Nations Cup qualifier in early June before suffering a stunning 2-0 loss to Ethiopia in Malawi.

A 4-1 defeat at the hands of South Korea in a friendly played in Seoul proved the last straw, with the EFA moving quickly to dismiss Galal and quell the growing anger, although the process to find a replacement was bumpy.


They approached Carlos Queiroz over the possibility of bringing him back but the veteran Portuguese coach, who led Egypt to the Nations Cup final and a World Cup qualifying playoff earlier this year before departing, launched a tirade against the EFA.

He chafed at the EFA after having dues deducted for failing to show up at a news conference before a Nations Cup quarter-final clash against Morocco, accusing the association of being unprofessional.

Local media said that Portuguese manager Paulo Sousa and Swiss Vladimir Petkovic had also snubbed offers from the EFA to take charge of the national team.

Emam then spearheaded efforts to reach an agreement with Vitoria, who last month turned down an offer from Cairo giants Ahly that fell short of his financial demands. He was also reportedly approached by Saudi club Al-Shabab.

The 52-year-old, who started his coaching career in the early 2000s, took charge of several Portuguese clubs, including Pacos Ferreira, Vitoria Guimaraes and Benfica.

He made an instant impact at Benfica, leading the club to back-to-back league titles in 2016 and 2017 as well as domestic Cup and League Cup triumphs.

He then moved to Saudi Arabia's Al-Nassr, whom he also steered to the coveted league crown in 2019. His most recent spell was a brief one at Russian giants Spartak Moscow, which ended in December last year following a series of poor results in the domestic league, including a 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Zenit Saint Petersburg.

Vitoria will be tasked with reviving the fortunes of an ailing Egypt side.

He might not lead the Pharaohs in any competitive game this year, given that a couple of Nations Cup qualifiers scheduled for September are likely to be postponed after the biennial tournament, which will take place in the Ivory Coast, was moved from next summer to early 2024.

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