Galal's job as Egypt coach on the line after two matches

Hatem Maher , Friday 10 Jun 2022

Ehab Galal is facing the stunning prospect of being axed just two matches after taking charge of Egypt, with a dismal 2-0 African Nations Cup qualifying loss to Ethiopia leaving his job hanging by a thread.

Egypt lost 2-0 to Ethiopia in their second Group D game of the African Nations Cup qualifiers (Photo: Ahram)

The Pharaohs were utterly outplayed to slump to their first defeat by Ethiopia in over three decades on Thursday, and were even lucky not to concede a heavier loss in Malawi capital Lilongwe.

A porous defence, toothless attack and frequent mis-placed passes left Egypt struggling against their unfancied opponents, in stark contrast to how they fared against some of the continent's heavyweights en route to the African Nations Cup final earlier this year.

Carlos Queiroz, Galal's forerunner, was apparently aware that his side would suffer if they had played an adventurous football, given the lack of quality in a squad dominated by domestic-based players.

With the exception of Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah, few can make the difference.

Queiroz's defensive-minded tactics were effective to a large extent, with Egypt brushing aside the likes of Cote d'Ivoire and Morocco before losing on penalties to Senegal in the Nations Cup final.

The Portuguese left by mutual consent after Egypt suffered another shootout loss to Senegal following a 1-1 aggregate draw in a World Cup qualifying playoff, with many fans growing increasingly frustrated by the former Real Madrid coach's perceived negative tactics.

Calls for a switch to a more attractive brand prompted the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) to turn to Galal, who has an unimpressive track record but is known for helping modest clubs punch above their weight.

Time needed? 

Galal made his name with Egyptian Premier League side Maqassa, helping them finish second in the premier domestic competition in 2017 for his best ever achievement.

He also rescued three-time league winners Ismaily from a disastrous season last year but other stints with Cairo giants Zamalek and the big-spending Pyramids FC were not as successful.

Galal admitted more than once that he needed sufficient time to adopt his philosophy but that might be a luxury for a team of Egypt's pedigree.

His debut saw Egypt defeat Guinea 1-0 in their opening Nations Cup qualifier last Sunday but it was hardly deserved, with the team looking short of ideas until substitute Mostafa Mohamed struck a fortuitous winner with three minutes remaining.

Against Ethiopia, Egypt's high backline was ruthlessly exposed, with repeated long balls eluding the slow central defenders and leaving Ethiopian forwards with only the keeper to beat.  

Knives are already sharpened and widespread reports suggested that Galal could be shown the door after Egypt face South Korea in a friendly game on Tuesday. The entire EFA board could also step down in embarrassment.

"I recommended that Queiroz stay on after doing a great job in just six months," Egypt's sports minister Ashraf Sobhy told reporters on Friday.

"But the EFA had another view and they should take full responsibility for their decision."

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link: