Egypt's head coach Bob Bradley of the U.S. (Photo: Reuters)
Zamalek coach Hassan Shehata rises to the defence of Egypt's national team coach, Bob Bradley, who has come under heavy fire. Shehata insists that the American is under heavy pressure.
Although the Pharaohs were eliminated from the first round of 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifiers under the helm of the US former coach, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) renewed its confidence in Bradley as Egypt’s coach.
"I oppose all who have recently asked for Bradley to be sacked," the former Egypt coach Shehata told Zamalek's official website on Friday.
"It was expected that we might not qualify for the continental tournament, especially since Bradley took charge amid very difficult circumstances," added Shehata.
The tragic murder of fans in a match in the Port Said stadium had a strong impact on Bradley's abilities to lead the team to qualify.
The Port Said tragedy forced an indefinite suspension of domestic football activities, leaving Bradley struggling to prepare Egypt for World Cup commitments with players out of form. To make matters worse, they couldn't count on the rush from fan support at home, given the crowd ban enforced by authorities due to security concerns amidst Egypt's ongoing revolution.
Egypt won three successive African Cup of Nations under Shehata's coaching in 2006, 2008 and 2010, but they failed to reach the World Cup finals; which is now Bradley's biggest target.
In light of the circumstances, the World Cup dream seems far-fetched, but Bradley is optimistic.
"Thanks to Egypt's Football Assocation for their decision. I hope they continue to back the team," Bradley said last week after publicly stressing their confidence in him.
"I'm very sad that we failed to reach the next African Cup of Nations, but I promise to do my best to guide the Egyptian team to the next World Cup.
"I'm optimistic regarding the team’s capacities to reach the next World Cup. We had a good start in the qualifiers and we're determined to continue our triumphant campaign," he added.
The Pharaohs have failed to qualify for the World Cup since their last appearance in 1990, when they reached the World Cup of Italia under the guidance of coach Mahmoud El-Gohary.
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