Egypt’s new strikercoach

Alaa Abdel-Ghani , Tuesday 13 Feb 2024

Egypt’s prolific goal scorer Hossam Hassan was last week appointed as the country’s new football coach following a disastrous showing in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON)



Hossam Hassan, 57, replaced Portuguese coach Rui Vitoria who was fired on 4 February for failing to take the record seven-time AFCON champions past the round of 16. The 2022 finalists failed to win a game in the 34th edition of the tournament in Cote d’Ivoire and were knocked out by DR Congo in a penalty shootout.

While French coaches Herve Renard and Sebastien Desabre were among the candidates considered for the position, Hassan eventually was selected for the job two days after Vitoria’s firing even though Hassan had just recently signed as coach of Egyptian League club Modern Future FC.

Hassan will be joined by his twin brother Ibrahim who will be the team’s director. The pair have never left each other’s side while playing and/or coaching.

Hossam Hassan is Egypt’s all-time top scorer with 69 goals. He is also 16th in the world with 170 international caps.

Probably Hassan’s most famous goal was a courageous header against Algeria that sent Egypt to the 1990 World Cup.

In the first game in the tournament against World Cup favourites and defending European champions Holland, Egypt drew 1-1, coming from behind via a penalty from midfielder Magdi Abdel-Ghani which was awarded after Hassan was brought down by defender Ronald Koeman.

The Hassans played mostly for hometown clubs Ahli and Zamalek, with a sojourn at PAOK in Greece and Swiss team Neuchâtel Xamax before retiring in 2008.

After their retirement the brothers managed several domestic clubs, including Zamalek, Pyramids, Ismaili, and Masri.

Hassan has managed only one national team, Jordan in 2013, leading them through a historic 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign before losing in the final stage against Uruguay in the AFC–CONMEBOL play-off.

His first game in charge with the Pharaohs will come in the Winsunited Cup in the United Arab Emirates during the international break in March. The Winsunited Cup will include Egypt, Tunisia, Croatia, and New Zealand.

His first official duty will be the 2026 World Cup qualifiers which will re-start in June. Egypt won their first two games. They will play Burkina Faso in game three.

Vitoria was appointed Egypt coach on a four-year deal in 2022 for a reported $200,000 a month. Hassan’s salary has not been revealed but most likely he and Ibrahim will be paid in Egyptian pounds and for much less as the government goes through a serious cash crunch.

The twins are also known for their fiery temper and have had several run-ins with their own players, opposing players, journalists, referees, and fans.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 15 February, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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