Egypt's new coach Shawki Gharib (Photo: AO)
Shawki Gharib has been appointed Egypt's manager following the departure of Bob Bradley, the country's football association said on Wednesday.
"Gharib has officially become the new Egypt coach. His contract will run until the end of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers," Egyptian Football Association (EFA) spokesman Azmy Megahed told Ahram Online.
The 54-year-old is no stranger to Egypt's dugout, having been the assistant of Hassan Shehata during a highly-successful reign that saw the Pharaohs win three straight African Cup of Nations titles in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
The EFA opted to resort to a local coach in a move deemed by many pundits as a safe bet, given Shehata's exploits while in charge of the team. However, Shehata still failed to succeed when it mattered most, with an elusive World Cup spot sealing the fate of him and Bradley.
Both men stumbled at the last hurdle, with Egypt losing to Algeria in a one-off playoff in Sudan in 2009 before suffering a 7-3 aggregate defeat by Ghana in a two-legged decider earlier this month.
Gharib's main task will be ending a barren World Cup qualifying run for Egypt, with their last appearance being in 1990 in Italy. Whether he is up to that target remains to be seen.
He came across as a promising manager when he steered Egypt to a third-place finish at the Youth World Championship in 2001 but he hardly built on that success, with his subsequent spells as a head coach proving futile.
Egypt's U-23 side failed to reach the 2004 Olympic Games after a dismal qualifying campaign under Gharib's guidance. Two recent spells with Egyptian Premier League sides Smouha and Ismaily were also unsuccessful.
"My ambitions are unlimited. I know it's a huge burden, but I promise to build a new team that will honour Egyptian football," Gharib said in a television interview.
Gharib will be burdened with replacing veterans Mohamed Abou-Treika and Wael Gomaa, who formed the backbone of Egypt's hugely successful side during the past decade.
Ahly's talismanic playmaker Abou-Treika has already announced his retirement from international football while defender Gomaa admitted it would be difficult to carry on his international career.
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