Egypt youth coach Diaa El-Sayed
A mere coincidence led Diaa El-Sayed to become Egypt’s U-20 manager, giving him the chance to prove his coaching credentials in the World Cup in Colombia.
The promising coach took over at Egypt following the sudden resignation of Mostafa Younes, who looked likely to stay put after helping the team book a place at the African Youth Championship.
Several players pleaded with Younes to carry on but he eventually opted to leave to concentrate on his work as a TV presenter after the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) told him he could not combine both jobs.
El-Sayed, who was also the coach of Egypt’s U-17 team in 2007 before managing Ahly’s youth team, replaced Younes and was immediately burdened with the task of taking the young Pharaohs to the U-20 World Cup.
He fulfilled that aim after steering Egypt to a third-place finish at the African Youth Championship in South Africa few months ago.
However, given that Egypt missed out on only one edition of the World Cup during the past 10 years, the real achievement for El-Sayed would probably lie in the tournament itself.
"I want us to go as far as we can, which is winning the cup! Any coach would say the same," El-Sayed, who briefly managed Egyptian Premier League side ENPPI in 2009, said in an interview with FIFA.com.
"First of all, we have to get through the group stages, but I’ve got a hunch we’re going to make a big impression at this tournament!"
Egypt will open their World Cup campaign against four-time winners Brazil on in Barranquilla on 29 July. They will also face minnows Austria and Panama in Group E.