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Egypt in hunt for a new coach

Egyptian football resumes its activities after hosting the Africa Cup of Nations. Finding a new coach is a top priority, reports Inas Mazhar

Inas Mazhar , Saturday 10 Aug 2019
 Egypt
File Photo: Egypt vs Guinea (Photo: Reuters)
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In the absence of a board of directors, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) faces big challenges in the coming months. The board had resigned in the wake of last month’s humiliating exit of Egypt from the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in the round of 16, a championship which Egypt was hosting.

Following that failure, the EFA’s executive director Tharwat Swelem became head of the football body until a new board is elected or an interim committee is appointed.

The challenges included resuming the EFA’s two major competitions, the league and the FA Cup, and selecting the coaching staff that will lead the Pharaohs in the qualifications for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2020 FIFA World Cup.

The EFA will also host the eight-nation African qualifiers for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Egypt will again host the Olympic qualification tournament in Cairo in November, which will see the top three teams making it to the Olympic Games.

According to the EFA media director and spokesman Osama Ismail, the league resumed immediately after the conclusion of the AFCON. It ended last week with Ahly successfully defending its title.

The FA Cup will resume in two weeks. “We have also announced the dates for the new 2019-2020 season. As for the selection or appointment of Egypt’s new coaching staff, it is not yet decided. All what has been said in the media and social media is mere speculation. Nothing has been decided yet,” Ismail said.

Since the sacking of the Pharaohs’ coaching staff, many names have been put forward, including former Egypt head coach Hassan Shehata, former Ahly head coach Hossam Al-Badri and former Zamalek head coach Ihab Galal. Former Ahly club team captain Hossam Ghali is up for the team’s administration manager.

Ismail confirmed that Swelem continues to run the EFA according to the regulations until a new board is elected or an interim committee is appointed. “So far, it is the executive director who is in charge, according to the EFA regulations and he reports to the general assembly. He is of course assisted by the heads of the different departments of the EFA, including competition, players, finance and legal departments,” Ismail added, explaining that the regulations state that the executive director leads for 90 days and then calls for new elections.

“It’s almost a month since the resignation of the board, which means the elections are to take place by October or November. The point is that this mandate which started in September 2016 is expected to end in 2020, which means that if elections are held, the new board will serve only one year or even less. This is why people are not enthusiastic to run for elections and prefer to go for the new elections in 2020. So having elections is not a good option now. But here we face another challenge. The executive director can’t continue being in charge after 90 days according to the regulations. So, the regulations need to be amended by the general assembly and you need at least 90 days to call for an urgent meeting to change the rules to allow the executive director to run the EFA for a year. But this is difficult because there is no time for that.

“So, the realistic and closer scenario for the time being and according to the circumstances, is selecting an interim committee of five people to run the EFA as a board, together with the executive director. This committee is to be approved by FIFA in this case, which they do understand,” explained Ismail.

The spokesman also revealed that the EFA is studying forming a new committee for coaches. “The role of this committee is to look into the issues that face coaches and solving any disputes between clubs and coaches as well as protecting their rights in the legislation and documentation of their contracts, just like the players. This committee will be comprised of veteran coaches and experts who will work together to draw up rules and disciplines for the coaches community, in coordination with Mahmoud Saad, the EFA technical director.”

The EFA announced this week the dates for the beginning of the new league season of 2019-2020. In a press conference held at the headquarters of the EFA, head of the competitions committee Amer Hussein announced that the new season will kick off on 19 September and will end in June 2020.

The EFA competitions committee also released the dates for resuming the FA CUP competitions for the 2018-2019 season. The competition will resume with the round of 16 on 17 August following the Eid Al Adha holidays.

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