Egypt Wait For Salah Lift-Off After Poor AFCON Start


Egypt’s forward Mohamed Salah reacts during the Group D Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Nigeria and Egypt at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 11, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP

 

Egypt will expect more from star man Mohamed Salah against Guinea-Bissau as the record seven-time champions attempt to bounce back from an opening loss to Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Liverpool forward cut an isolated and frustrated figure as Egypt lost 1-0 to the Super Eagles in Garoua, suffering their first group stage defeat at the continental tournament since 2004.

It could be argued there is no better player in the world right now than the 29-year-old forward, who has scored 54 times for Liverpool since the start of last season.

But Salah has struggled to hit those same heights of late for his country and is without a goal for Egypt in his last six appearances having drawn a blank so far in 2022 World Cup qualifying.

READ ALSO: Iheanacho Stunner Sinks Salah’s Egypt

He has downplayed Egypt’s chances of lifting the trophy, suggesting the Pharaohs are not the title favourites, but expectations remain high for a team that bitterly disappointed on home soil in 2019.

Dreams of an eighth Cup of Nations crown quickly turned into a nightmare three years ago as Egypt were bundled out in the last 16 by South Africa in front of 80,000 disbelieving fans in Cairo — and millions more around the country.

While the 24-team format affords sides more leeway, Egypt now face the very realistic prospect of drawing reigning champions Algeria or Ivory Coast in the next round — assuming they advance from Group D.

Carlos Queiroz, hired in September to replace Hossam El Badry, admitted Egypt need to raise their level.

“The performance in the first half was very poor and this is the truth, we were not on the field,” said Queiroz after the Nigeria defeat.

“We lost this match but there are six points we must get against Sudan and Guinea-Bissau to qualify.”

 ‘Give Our Best’


(Top L-R) Egypt’s goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy, defender Ahmed Abou el Fotouh, defender Mahmoud ‘El Wensh’ Hamdy, defender Ahmed Hegazi, midfielder Mohamed Elneny, forward Omar Marmoush, (bottom L-R) forward Mohamed Salah, forward Mostafa Mohamed, midfielder Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan, defender Akram Tawfik, and defender Ahmed Abou el Fotouh pose prior to the Group D Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Nigeria and Egypt at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 11, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP

 

The odds will be heavily in Egypt’s favour against Saturday’s opponents, Guinea-Bissau, who are making their third consecutive finals appearance but have yet to win a game at Africa’s flagship competition.

For Egypt to make a deep run though, they will need Salah, one of three finalists for the FIFA best men’s player award, to rediscover his magic on the international stage.

“I don’t think we are the first candidate (to win) this tournament, but we do our best to win it,” Salah said earlier this week.

“We have a good coach. We have a good team. We have a very good group and they’ve played for the national team for 10, 11, years now so I know we have a very good team.

“So, we give our best and hopefully we win it.”

Liverpool will be keeping a close eye on Egypt’s fortunes, along with those of Sadio Mane’s Senegal, with contract talks involving Salah a key topic of conversation around Anfield.

Salah has fewer than 18 months left on his current deal and in a recent interview with GQ magazine said he wanted to be rewarded for his huge contribution.

“I want to stay, but it’s not in my hands,” he said. “It’s in their hands. They know what I want. I’m not asking for crazy stuff.

“The thing is when you ask for something and they show you they can give you something (they should) because they appreciate what you did for the club.”

AFP

AFCON Match Preview: Nigeria Face Acid Test Against Record Holders Egypt

 

Nigeria will begin their quest at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Tuesday when they face Egypt in a Group D match in Garoua.

The Super Eagles, aiming for their fourth African title having last won it in 2013 in South Africa, will rekindle a rivalry dating back to the 60s against Egypt at the Estadio Roumde Adjia in the group’s opening game.

While Nigeria look to add another trophy to their cabinet, Egypt are record AFCON winners having emerged champions on seven occasions.

Less than two months before the tournament, Nigeria sacked their long-time manager, Gernot Rohr, and appointed former international, Austine Eguaveon, to take charge of the team on an interim basis.

Aside from that, the side headed to the tournament missing star striker, Victor Osimhen. The Napoli forward was ruled out of the competition for health reasons, raising concerns about the team’s attacking options.

Nigeria won the AFCON in 2013. Photo: Instagram/Super Eagles

 

Victory, Not Personal Glory

Watford’s Emmanuel Dennis was also left out after his club stopped him from going to the competition. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had accused Watford of “baring fangs” over the player’s absence. Defenders Leon Balogun and Shehu Abdullahi were also excused from the soccer party.

Heading into the competition, the game against Egypt, the Nigerian coach admitted that while he respects them, his side is in for business.

“We respect Egypt, but Nigeria is a great team, and we didn’t come here to lose,” Eguaveon said.

“I’m not looking for personal glory, but the most important thing I’m looking for is an achievement for Nigeria.”

The team’s skipper, Musa, is also confident that Nigeria can emerge winners in the end.

“We have a good team, and we are going to compete for the title with whatever it takes,” the former Leicester City star said ahead of the Egypt clash.

 

Key Men For Nigeria

File photo: Brazil’s forward Neymar (R) fights for the ball with the Super Eagles of Nigeria’s midfielder Wilfred Ndidi during a friendly international football match at the National Stadium in Singapore on October 13, 2019. Roslan RAHMAN / AFP

 

While the absence of Osimhen – the nation’s top scorer in the qualification race for the competition – is a major blow for the Nigerian side, the Super Eagles can bank on the services of Union Berlin’s Taiwo Awoniyi, Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi, and Villareal’s youngster, Samuel Chukwueze, to do the damage.

Ndidi has been a mainstay for the Foxes in the English Premier League while Awoniyi is expected to replicate his form with the German side for Nigeria.

 

Egypt

 

Egypt are making their 23rd appearance at the AFCON. In 2010, the Pharaohs won their third AFCON trophy in a row.

They have also secured a place in the playoff stage of the World Cup qualifiers. They got four wins and two draws from six Group F games.

Coach Carlos Queiroz believes his boys have what it takes to win the competition in the Central African nation.

“We will face a team that has many great players, but we are ready and we will face them with full force,” he said.

Captain, Mohamed Salah, while re-echoing the coach’s comment, said he looks forward to winning the trophy.

“I have never won a title with the national team and I hope this will be the first. We have a great coach and a great team so we will give our all,” he added.

 

Key Men

Salah 'Almost 100%' Certain To Play In Egypt Opener, Coach Says
File photo: Egypt’s forward Mohamed Salah gestures as he takes part in a training session at Ekaterinburg Stadium in Ekaterinburg on June 14, 2018, a day ahead the team’s Russia 2018 World Cup Group A opening football match against Uruguay. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

 

Liverpool’s Salah is arguably the man to watch out for when the Nigerian team battles Egypt. The forward is the leading scorer in the English Premier League with 16 goals.

Having lost to South Africa in the round of 16 in the last continental tournament, Queiroz’s men will be relying on the former Chelsea man to set the tone for the team in their search for an eighth crown.

Mohamed Elneny of Arsenal is also another man to watch out for against the Super Eagles.

 

Team Form

Nigeria have only lost one of the last five games. They have won three and drawn one – the defeat against the Central African Republic (CAR) during a 2022 World Cup qualifier.

On the other hand, their opponents have lost two, drawn one, and won two games.

 

Head To Head

In the last five encounters between the sides, Nigeria have won twice just as Egypt have defeated the Super Eagles twice. The other game ended in a draw.

Both teams last met at the AFCON in Angola 2010 with the North Africans beating Nigeria 3-1 en route to winning their seventh African crown.

 

Match Time

Nigeria’s Group D AFCON fixture with Egypt will start by 5 pm (local time) on Tuesday, January 11, 2022.

Fourteen Killed In Egypt Double Bus Crash

Screenshot from video of the accident

 

At least 14 people were killed and 17 injured Saturday when a coach and a minibus smashed into each other at high speed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, security officials said.

The minibus and the coach, which had come from the capital Cairo and was heading for the Red Sea tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, collided while speeding in poor visibility due to fog around dawn, officials added.

The crash took place close to El-Tor in southern Sinai, some 300 kilometres (185 miles) southeast of Cairo.

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The casualties were taken to a hospital in El-Tor.

Travel accidents are frequent in Egypt, where many roads are badly maintained and traffic rules often neglected.

About 7,000 people were killed on the country’s roads in 2020, according to official figures.

AFP

Blow For Nigeria As NFF Rules Ighalo Out Of 2021 AFCON

Ighalo had earlier retired from the national team in 2019. Photo: [email protected]

 

Super Eagles returnee, Odion Ighalo, has been ruled out of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), signalling another blow to Nigeria’s quest for a fourth continental laurel.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) confirmed the development on Thursday, explaining that the striker’s Saudi Arabia club, Al- Shabab, did not release him for the tournament which begins on Sunday in the Cameroon.

Ighalo, top scorer at the 2019 edition of the competition where Nigeria finished third, had only recently returned to the team. He retired after the tournament hosted in Egypt.

READ ALSO: Osimhen Tests Positive For COVID-19 Again

Thursday’s revelation is a major setback to the Super Eagles team already missing key players.

Last week, the football body confirmed that Nigeria’s top scorer during the 2022 World Cup qualification series, Victor Osimhen, will not be playing in the competition.

The Napoli forward was ruled out due to health issues after the player had expressed readiness to represent the nation in Cameroon.

“Lively forward Victor Osimhen’s positive test to the coronavirus pandemic a couple of days ago and injury to the versatile Abdullahi Shehu have constrained changes to Nigeria’s final 28-man list for the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations starting in Cameroon next weekend,” a statement from the NFF read.

Aside from Osimhen, Watford also failed to release in-form striker, Dennis Emmanuel, for Nigeria’s 19th appearance at the continental showpiece, a move the NFF described as “baring of fangs.”

Defender Leon Balogun and Cyprus-based Abdullahi Shehu were also among the players ruled out of the soccer party last week.

In their stead,  Nigeria invited Henry Onyekuru, Peter Olayinka, Tyronne Ebuehi, and Oluwasemilogo Ajayi.

Nigeria begin their AFCON journey on Tuesday, January 11th when they face record winners, Egypt, in the Group D opening fixture.

Egypt Reports First Cases Of Omicron Variant

An illustration picture taken on December 17, 2021, shows a syringe in front of the words “Omicron SARS-CoV-2”. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

 

Egypt on Saturday said it had detected its first three cases of the coronavirus Omicron variant, at the height of the economically vital tourist season.

Three Egyptians tested positive on their return from overseas, the health ministry said without specifying where they had travelled from.

One of them had mild symptoms and the other two had none, it added.

The country’s air and tourism sectors, which suffered under global lockdowns for the past two years, had just started to recover and were counting on end-of-year holiday visits.

Omicron is the biggest threat to global public health, the G7 group of economically developed democracies said this week.

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Scientists remain uncertain how dangerous the highly mutated Omicron variant is, but early data suggests it can be more resistant to vaccines and is more transmissible than the Delta variant.

From December 1, Egypt stepped up measures to control the spread of the virus.

It barred officials and students not vaccinated against Covid-19 from government offices and universities unless they show a negative PCR test.

The country has officially recorded 373,509 coronavirus cases, including 21,277 deaths.

Egypt’s vaccination campaign, after initially lagging, has considerably accelerated in recent months with mobile units deployed.

Around 40 percent of the more than 102 million Egyptians have now received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to the government, but only 14 million of those have had two doses.

Mask-wearing — which health experts consider a vital measure against coronavirus spread — is poorly respected in Cairo, a city of more than 20 million tightly-packed inhabitants.

Tourism represents about a tenth of the GDP of Egypt, where a third of the population lives below the poverty line.

Iranian Forces, Taliban Exchange Fire At Border

File photo: Taliban fighters stand guard near the venue of an open-air rally in a field on the outskirts of Kabul on October 3, 2021. Hoshang Hashimi / AFP

 

An exchange of fire erupted Wednesday between Iranian forces and Afghanistan’s Taliban at Iran’s eastern border, local media reported.

“A clash erupted in the afternoon between Iranian border guards and the Taliban following a misunderstanding at the border near the (Afghan) province of Nimroz,” Iran’s Tasnim news agency said.

Iran, which shares a 900 kilometre (560 mile) border with Afghanistan, does not recognise the Taliban government formed after the insurgents seized the capital Kabul in August.

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Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said a “border dispute between residents” of the area had triggered the incident, without referring to the Taliban.

“The situation has been resolved. Shooting stopped after contact between border guards of the two countries,” he said in a statement.

Tasnim reported that “Iranian farmers passed beyond the protective walls erected within Iran, and the Taliban reacted by deeming that their border had been breached”.

The Taliban opened fire and Iranian forces responded, it said.

In late October, Tehran called on the Taliban to adopt a “friendly” approach towards their neighbours, in a meeting of six of countries that share borders with Afghanistan.

Iran has appeared to edge towards a pragmatic rapprochement with the hard-line Sunni Islamist group in recent months.

AFP

Egypt Sentences 22 Militants To Death By Hanging

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

An Egyptian court on Thursday sentenced to death by hanging 22 Islamist militants for 54 attacks including the attempted assassination of a former interior minister, a judicial source told AFP.

The men were found guilty of committing 54 “terrorist operations” across Egypt, including the murder of a senior police officer as well as trying to kill former interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim.

Executions in Egypt for civilians are carried out by hanging. Those sentenced to death include a former police officer, and the verdicts cannot be appealed.

The 22 convicted were found guilty of being members of the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group, which pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State group in 2014.

The Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest appeals court, also upheld prison sentences of 118 others in the same case, ranging from terms of several years to life imprisonment.

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Egypt has for years been fighting a bitter insurgency in North Sinai that escalated after the army’s 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

In February 2018, the army and police launched a nationwide operation against militants focused on North Sinai.

Around 1,073 suspected militants and dozens of security personnel have been killed since the start of operations, according to official figures.

Earlier this month, Egypt agreed with Israel to boost its troop numbers around the border town of Rafah in order to quell IS militants.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis fighters in Sinai were led by Hisham al-Ashmawy, an ex-special forces officer.

Ashmawy –- once dubbed Egypt’s “most wanted man” — split from the militants after they switched allegiance from Al-Qaeda to the Islamic State group.

In 2018, Ashmawy was captured in the eastern Libya city of Derna, and extradited to Cairo. He had been on trial with the 22 men sentenced on Thursday, but had already been found guilty, and was executed in March 2020.

Egypt, the most populous Arab country, recorded the third most executions in the world —  behind China and Iran according to Amnesty International. In 2020, Egyptian authorities executed at least 107 people, Amnesty said.

AFP

Out Of The Shadow, Egypt’s Money-Pooling Apps Thrive

An employee at “al-Gameya”, a tech startup the runs an app to facilitate for strangers to create an informal money-pooling association to provide access for money in time of need, holds a phone with the application open at the company offices in Egypt’s capital Cairo on September 12, 2021.  On average, a “gameya” lasts between five and 20 months and is not limited to a particular economic class. Khaled DESOUKI / AFP

 

Cash-strapped Egyptians fearful of banks have long relied on a “gameya” to access money in time of need, but now tech startups are cashing in on the age-old money-pooling association.

Navigating an app with strangers is “easier and safer” than the traditional face-to-face practice, said one user, Menna Shaarawi, 31.

“I receive the money in my bank account without any delays and I don’t have to chase after people to get what’s owed to me. It’s perfect really,” the marketing manager told AFP about her use of the ElGameya (association in Arabic) app, which is quickly rising in popularity.

Dina Rabie, an economist and lecturer at the British University in Egypt, explained that the gameya is “more of a social norm” in the country where the practice dates back to at least the turn of the 20th century.

The cooperative system that allows people to save and borrow money is popular in parts of the world, including Africa and Latin America.

Participants put an equal amount each month in a pot and take turns to collect the sum that has accumulated.

On average, a gameya lasts between five and 20 months and is not limited to a particular economic class, Rabie said.

Almost 30 per cent of Egypt’s 102-million-strong population lives below the poverty line, according to state figures. Less than a third of Egyptians have bank accounts, a 2017 World Bank report said.

The gameya is often formed among relatives or co-workers facing financial hardships.

Operating outside the confines of a formal banking sector, it works particularly well for young couples saving up for a wedding or for a health emergency that requires hefty fees.

In a country where 63.4 percent of workers earn their income from the informal economy, according to the World Bank’s 2018 figures, such avenues often prove essential.

‘Simple Steps’

Ahmed Mahmoud, 28, who founded the ElGameya app in 2019, said: “In three simple steps we get rid of logistical hassles” that come with the old way of doing things.

Users need to register, upload their supporting documents and sign a contract to start using the app, he said.

Registration requires a national identity card rather than a credit card or other proof of finances, while contributions can be made via cash or electronically with a mobile phone.

Ahmed Wadi, creator of the popular MoneyFellows app, agrees that online transactions are easy.

His app has around 173,000 users who contribute between 500 pounds ($30) to tens of thousands monthly.

One user, Ashraf Salah from the southern city of Qena, said he was “skeptical” at first.

“But after I registered, I ended up raising money to renovate my home.”

Salah said he likes the anonymity the app provides, unlike the “embarrassing” traditional method where everyone knows how much you put in the pot.

Mahmoud, of ElGameya, maintains that his app contributes to “financial inclusion”, an initiative espoused by the authorities to integrate the finances of Egyptians into the formal economy.

The Central Bank of Egypt is cooperating with both apps to incorporate the savings of Egyptians, shifting them from the shadow economy to a more formalised setting.

MoneyFellows succeeded in raising $4 million last year from venture capital firms to expand its digital footprint.

They attribute this to their “solid evaluation system” where users get higher credit ratings if they can provide more proof of their ability to pay funds.

‘Knowing the People’

In Cairo’s competitive and well-established startup ecosystem, both ElGameya and MoneyFellows say they have boosted their user bases by around 700 percent and 300 percent respectively in the last year.

Mahmoud said that the coronavirus pandemic actually helped, rather than hindered, the expansion.

His app has 30,000 clients, including 30 percent from rural and economically marginalised Upper Egypt in the country’s south.

ElGameya has mostly attracted people “who want to get married or pay for private schools”, Mahmoud said.

A study by the American University in Cairo found that 43 percent of Egyptians who have savings are part of money-pooling clubs.

But some, like Ragab Farghaly, 50, question the need for an app, where fees are charged.

“We help each other out and the whole issue is based on trust so that’s why I don’t like the online gameya,” he said.

“I know the people in my gameya. If one of them doesn’t pay up I go to their brother or mother and they pay instead of him.”

While Farghaly likes to keep things close to home, MoneyFellows and ElGameya are looking further afield and eyeing Africa and the Gulf.

Egypt Lifts State Of Emergency In Force Since 2017

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi looks on at the start of a trilateral meeting between Greece, Egypt and Cyprus in Athens on October 19, 2021. ARIS MESSINIS / AFP
FILE: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi looks on at the start of a trilateral meeting between Greece, Egypt and Cyprus in Athens on October 19, 2021. ARIS MESSINIS / AFP

 

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday announced the lifting of the state of emergency in place since deadly jihadist attacks on Coptic Christian churches more than four years ago.

The North African country has been under a state of emergency since April 2017 bombings of two Coptic churches by an Islamic State group affiliate that killed more than 40 people.

Coptic Christians account for around 10 percent of Egypt’s population.

“Egypt has become, thanks to its great people and its loyal men, an oasis of security and stability in the region,” Sisi said on Facebook.

“This is why I decided to cancel the renewal of the state of emergency throughout the country,” he added.

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Under a state of emergency, police powers such as arresting and holding citizens are extended and constitutional rights such as freedom of speech and assembly are curtailed.

Egypt has for years been battling an Islamist insurgency. The attacks have been largely concentrated in the northern Sinai Peninsula, but occasionally struck elsewhere in the country.

Since February 2018, the authorities have been conducting a nationwide operation against Islamist militants, mainly focused on North Sinai and the country’s Western Desert, towards the border with Libya.

Rights groups say the state of emergency coupled with the government’s effective protest ban since 2013 has helped it in crushing dissent.

 

AFP

Egypt’s First Post-Mubarak Ruler, Tantawi Dies At 85

Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, who died on September 21, 2021 at the age of 85, headed the military junta that ruled Egypt in the aftermath of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster before being sacked by the country’s first freely elected leader. Khaled DESOUKI / AFP

 

Egypt’s Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, who headed the military junta that ruled after president Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in the Arab Spring protests, has died at age 85, state media and a military official said Tuesday. 

After his stint as Egypt’s de facto leader, he was soon sacked by the country’s first freely elected president, the Islamist Mohamed Morsi, and spent his remaining years largely out of public view.

A veteran of Egypt’s wars and politics, Field Marshal Tantawi had long served as Mubarak’s defence minister and as chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

He became the acting head of state of the Arab world’s most populous country after an 18-day popular uprising during the region’s “Arab Spring” protests ended Mubarak’s rule in early 2011.

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Tantawi “died today, Tuesday, after giving a lot” to his country, the government newspaper Akhbar al-Youm said in an online report confirmed to AFP by a military official speaking on condition of anonymity.

Like all Egyptian leaders from the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952 to the 2012 election of Morsi, Tantawi came from military ranks.

Born in 1935, and of Nubian origin, Tantawi began his career as an infantryman in 1956. He served during the 1956 Suez Crisis and in the 1967 and 1973 Middle East wars against Israel.

After taking charge of the country, his junta quickly said Egypt would stay “committed” to its regional and international treaties, implicitly confirming that its landmark 1979 peace treaty with Israel would remain intact.

In 1991, Tantawi was on the side of the US-led coalition in the first Gulf War after Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

He served as Egypt’s minister of defence and military production for 21 years and became the army chief in 1995.

Despite being a close associate of Mubarak, Tantawi relented to public pressure and put the ex-president on trial on charges of inciting the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 uprising.

 

‘Charming But Change-Resistant’

Tantawi was often perceived as a possible presidential candidate after Mubarak’s ouster, but his age and reported ill health counted against him.

Those who knew him felt he would likely have failed to meet the surging democratic aspirations of Egyptians after Mubarak’s ouster.

A March 2008 US diplomatic cable published on activist website WikiLeaks described Tantawi as “charming and courtly” but also “aged and change-resistant”.

“He and Mubarak are focused on regime stability and maintaining the status quo through the end of their time. They simply do not have the energy, inclination, or world view to do anything differently,” the cable warned.

The army was widely praised for allowing anti-Mubarak protests during the uprising, and the junta vowed to pave the way “to an elected civil authority to build a free democratic state”.

Demonstrators had often hailed the armed forces as a unifying national force — less brutal and corrupt than the interior ministry police or pro-Mubarak thugs who attacked their marches.

But their joy soon turned into anger, accusing the junta of dragging its feet in launching democratic reforms.

Morsi, less than two months after his election as Egypt’s leader in June 2012, sacked Tantawi and, fatefully, replaced him with then military intelligence chief, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Sisi went on to oust Morsi after street protests against the Islamist’s single year of divisive rule, and himself became president in 2014.

After his sacking, Tantawi largely kept a low profile, although he was seen attending the inauguration of the “new Suez Canal” in 2015.

AFP

Egypt Name Ex-Real Madrid Boss Queiroz As New Coach

Queiroz Plays Up Iran Unity Ahead Of Morocco Clash
Iran’s coach Carlos Queiroz (C) leads a training session at Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 14, 2018, ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup football game Iran vs Morocco. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Carlos Queiroz was appointed Wednesday as Egypt’s new coach following the sacking of Hossam El-Badry after an unconvincing start to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

The Egyptian football federation said Queiroz, a former Manchester United assistant and Real Madrid manager, would be supported by Diaa El-Sayed and long-time former national team goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary on his coaching staff.

It is the latest in a long line of international jobs for the 68-year-old Queiroz, who took Portugal to the 2010 World Cup. He also coached Iran at the 2014 and 2018 tournaments.

The Portuguese will take over from El-Badry, who was dismissed Monday in the wake of a 1-1 draw in Gabon.

Egypt’s sluggish performance against Gabon on Sunday, in which they needed a 90th-minute equaliser to rescue a point, and a laboured 1-0 win against Angola in their opening World Cup qualifier, had prompted furious criticism from disappointed fans on social media.

Egypt are second behind Libya in their group with four points from two games. They face a crucial doubleheader against the Libyans in October, with only the group winners advancing to the final qualifying round.

Queiroz is expected to arrive in Cairo next week. He left his role as Colombia coach late last year after a 6-1 defeat by Ecuador.

A former assistant to Alex Ferguson at United, Queiroz has also previously had spells in charge of South Africa and United Arab Emirates.

AFP

Egypt Sack Coach After World Cup Qualifier Draw With Gabon

File photo: Egypt’s team players (from top left) Egypt’s defender Ali Gabr, Egypt’s goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy, Egypt’s forward Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan, Egypt’s defender Ahmed Hegazi, Egypt’s forward Marwan Mohsen, Egypt’s defender Ahmed Fathi, Egypt’s midfielder Mohamed Elneny, Egypt’s defender Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, Egypt’s midfielder Tarek Hamed, Egypt’s midfielder Abdallah Said and Egypt’s forward Mohamed Salah pose before the Russia 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Russia and Egypt at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on June 19, 2018. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Egypt’s Football Association on Monday sacked national coach Hossam al-Badry a day after the Pharaohs drew with minnows Gabon in a 2022 World Cup qualifier.

“The association decided in an emergency meeting …to thank the coaching and technical staff for their services with the national squad,” the EFA said in a short statement on its social media accounts.

A new coach is expected to be named within 48 hours, the EFA added.

Egypt’s sluggish performance against Gabon on Sunday, in which they needed a 90th minute equaliser to rescue a point, and a laboured 1-0 win against Angola in their previous World Cup qualifier, had prompted furious criticism from disappointed fans on social media.

The Pharaohs’ star Mohamed Salah lined up for the Gabon match after missing the Angola game as his club Liverpool refused to release him because the country is on the British government’s Covid-19 red list of countries and the forward would have been forced to quarantine on his return to England.

Badry, who had been in the job for two years, said he had refused to tender his resignation under pressure from the EFA, forcing them to sack him.

The coach noted the Pharaohs were still top of their World Cup qualifying group with four points and that he had guided them to qualification for next year’s African Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

AFP