'There are lessons to learn from Egypt's World Cup experience,' says prominent economist Mohamed El-Erian

Ahram Online , Friday 29 Jun 2018,
Egypt's Trezeguet reacts after missing a chance to score during the group A match between Saudi Arabia and Egypt (Photo: AP)

"Rather than treat Egypt's early exit from the World Cup campaign as a failure, Egyptians should view it as a learning experience, one that can guide the country as it seeks to achieve its full potential," were the words with which prominent economist Mohamed El-Erian opened his op-ed for Project Syndicate.

After finally managing to make it to the World Cup after a 28-year absence, Egypt lost all three of their group games, managing just two goals and conceding six.

El-Erian believes that there are lessons to learn from Egypt's World Cup experience in Russia, after the Pharaohs demonstrated that they are capable of competing at the highest international level.

First of all, it's important to manage Egyptians' expectations, which according to El-Erian, ended up far exceeding what the team could realistically achieve in the tournament.

Egypt's prospects at the tournament were further compromised by the loss Liverpool star forward Mohamed Salah, due to a shoulder injury ahead of the World Cup, during the build-up for the Russia finals.

The second lesson is to diversify Egypt's attacking approach instead of continually relying on their star Salah, describing recently-departed manager Hector Cuper's tactics as "slow to evolve, even after opponents double and triple-teamed Salah."

The third lesson is to remain focused and never to ease off until the final whistle, a shortcoming that proved rather costly when Egypt conceded goals in the extra time of both halves in a bitter 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia in their final group game.    

The last lesson is to allow Egyptians to ply their trade abroad as much as possible, where players like Salah can "deepen and expand their skill sets, while developing a broader strategic understanding of the game."

El-Erian concluded his op-ed by reiterating that Egyptians should view the World Cup as a learning experience, one that can help guide the country as it seeks to achieve more fully its considerable potential on multiple fronts.

(For more sports news and updates and a special World Cup 2018 coverage, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports)

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