Egypt's assistance coach Diaa El Sayed (Photo: AP)
“Egyptians, including me, have been haunted by the dream of reaching the World Cup over the past years. It is our major target and we hope to fulfill it,” El-Sayed said just a few days after being officially unveiled as assistant to Egypt's new coach, Bob Bradley.
“We will be facing a lot of pressure, especially after Hassan Shehata’s successes [winning three straight African Cup of Nations’ title in 2006, 2008 and 2010], but we will try to build on it,” he added when he was speaking to Khaled Abdel-Moneim in an interview published in Al-Ahram Al-Reyadi.
The Pharaohs have dominated the African scene over the past six years, but have fallen short of reaching the World Cup finals since 1990.
Shehata’s golden era came sorely to an end when the seven-time African champions failed to reach the 2012 Cup of African Nations, making way for Bradley and his staff.
Voices have called for a major overhaul in the aging squad but El-Sayed eased concerns:
“We need experience in a big team, like Egypt. We cannot put an end to a generation - but we will give young players more chances.
“[Coach] Bradley has asked to watch Egypt’s matches over the past couple of years and also wants detailed files on all the players who were included in the squad over the same period. He is very keen to watch all the youth teams to pick up the best elements capable to make it through to the senior squad,” El-Sayed concluded.
The new staff will officially start working next month when Egypt will play a friendly game against Brazil in Doha on 14 November.