African title in 2015 is unrealistic, says new Egypt coach

Eslam Omar, Wednesday 4 Dec 2013

Shawky Gharib says winning 2015 African Cup of Nations title is too much to ask; has his sights set on qualification for 2018 World Cup

Shawky Gharib
Egypt new coach Shawky Gharib (Photo: AO)

Egypt's newly appointed manager Shawky Gharib has said his main target is to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

"I will plan an international agenda to make the team busy with matches until 2017 in order to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers," Gharib told weekly Egyptian sports magazine Ahram Sport.

The 55-year-old coach succeeded American coach Bob Bradley who took charge in 2011 with the goal of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. Despite positive results in the group stage, the team failed to qualify after losing to Ghana 7-3 on aggregate in the playoff. Bradley also failed to qualify for the 2013 African Cup of Nations (CAN).

"Competing for the 2015 African title will be too much to ask. If the football association asked me for it, I will say ok, of course, but in that case they will be wanting me to fail," added the winner of four CAN titles, one as a player in 1986 and three as assistant coach to Hassan Shehata in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

'Better than El-Gohary'

Gharib, whose appointment has been criticised by some observers, has expressed confidence and pride in his cv.

"I won four CAN titles and my record in this competition is better than Mahmoud El-Gohary's," Gharib said, comparing his success as assistant coach with Egyptian football icon El-Gohary who won the African title three times, twice as a player 1957 and 1959 and once as manager in 1998.

"I won the CAN as a player and a coach, the same as him but I won it as a coach three times. The assistant coach is a very important post. He gives all his experience to the manager," he insisted.

As a manager, Gharib, who led the Egyptian youth team to third place at the 2001 World Cup, failed to accomplish anything with the Olympic team in 2004 after humiliating defeats.

"Nobody wins all the time and even failure gives you experience. As a player at a poor club like Ghazl El-Mahallah, I was a successful player. And I also enabled Baladeyet El-Mahallah to qualify for their first Egyptian Premier League. If I had played for Ahly or Zamalek, you would have found a lobby defending me and praising me all the time but I am one of the poor village people who climbed the stairs step by step until I made it to the finest post in Egyptian football," Gharib concluded.

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