Queiroz says CAF fine against Egypt for 'missing' press conference 'unjustified and unfair'

Mahmoud Elassal , Thursday 3 Feb 2022

Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz said that the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) does not deserve the fine levied against it by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for not attending a pre-match press conference at the AFCON 2021 in Cameroon, calling the fine both "unjustified and unfair."

Egypt s Portuguese head coach Carlos Queiroz attends a training session at an annex of the Olembe stadium in Yaounde on February 1, 2022, two days ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 semi-final football match between Cameroon and Egypt. AFP

On Tuesday, CAF fined the EFA $100,000 for failing to attend the pre-match press conference ahead of the match Morocco in the AFCON quarterfinals last Saturday.

Queiroz charged that the CAF is responsible of breaching the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations media protocols and directives.

“On behalf of the Egyptian national team I want to say that we were not responsible for not attending the press conference. The CAF  alongside the media committee and the Cameroonian police are responsible for what happened,” Queiroz said on Wednesday evening at the pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Cameroon in the semi-final of the AFCON 2021 Thursday.

“We were ready to attend the press conference but they took us to another place far away from the conference headquarters," he said.

"We received a massive $100,000 fine by CAF for no fault of our own,” the Portuguese coach added.

“Hereby, our position on the fine is that it is unjustified and unfair.” Queiroz said.

The Pharaohs are scheduled to face Cameroon in the semifinal of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations late on Thursday.

Queiroz dissects Eto'o statements

During the presser, the 68-year-old accomplished tactician hit back at Samuel Eto'o, the head of the Cameroonian Football Federation and  former Barcelona star striker, for urging his players to give their all when they play in the Nations Cup last four on Thursday and to treat the match as "going to war."

Queiroz said that the real war is to protect fans "that die in the doors of the stadiums."

Last week, a stampede after the game between Cameroon and Comoros at the main Olembe Stadium in the capital of Yaounde in the last 16 left eight people dead and 38 injured.

“Eto'o is not a domestic hero but he is an international one and I admire him. I did my best to land him to Real Madrid when I was leading the team there,” Queiroz said.

“My statements are not against him per se but it was against the words he used especially in the current world.”

“We have to eliminate the words 'fear' and 'war' from our football dictionary,” the 68-year-old coach said.

On Tuesday, Egypt's skipper Mohamed Salah stressed that the Pharaohs should take it one game at a time and not think too much about their title prospects as they face Cameroon on Thursday.

The Pharaohs lock horns with Cameroon in a re-match of the 2017 final, which the Indomitable Lions won 2-1 after coming from a goal down.

Eto'o lowers tone

Eto'o, 40, lowered the tone on Wednesday, explaining that his statements ahead of the Egypt clash was just meant for motivation, adding that at the time he made them and back then he didn't know they will face Egypt in the tournament semifinals.

“As you know when I spoke to the players, we didn’t know the team who will face but our target was not to insult any country as we only aim to motivate the team,” Eto'o told reporters.

“We will play against one of the best teams in the continent who have one of the best players in Africa’s history but our mission is to do anything to win,” the Cameroonian Football Federation boss added.

Record seven-time African champions Egypt are seeking their first AFCON title since 2010, while Cameroon are seeking their sixth since their last win in 2017.

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