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Héctor Cúper: Leading ‘full of talent’ Egypt was appealing
Cúper revealed that negotiations with the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) didn’t take long. “I thank them for the negotiations that went through without any obstacles,” he said.
“Leading Egypt was appealing to me. I accepted the post because Egypt is a big team, it is the most prized in Africa and it is full of talent capable of achievements both on the continental stage and on the world stage.”
“I spoke with a friend who told me that the national team is very important to Egyptian players and an honour to play in. I was happy to hear these words.”
The Argentine said he does not have a magic wand but will try to correct Egypt’s negative run of results in recent times.
He praised Fiorentina star Mohamed Salah saying Salah was the first name that came to his mind when he heard of Egypt’s offer. “He’s a fantastic player. I followed his recent games with Fiorentina. He’s putting in great performances right now, but he’s only one player in a collective team. I have to concentrate on building a full team.
“I don’t know all the players here but I’ll waste no time to learn everything about the team. I will live in Cairo to watch the players up close.”
The 59-year-old has never worked in Africa before but played down this fact, saying “the offside rule works the same in Africa or Europe or South America. The task is the same: score and don’t concede.”
Cúper revealed he is planning to play a friendly at the end of this month. He said that people can evaluate him on performances in friendlies as well as official games. “I am not always bothered by criticism because sometimes it is true,” he remarked.
The manager spoke of the Egyptian Premier League saying he is aware it has stopped since the Air Defence Stadium events but EFA officials have assured him it is to be resumed. “It is not a big problem though,” he added. “We have Europe-based players and players competing in African competitions.”
On his part, EFA president Gamal Allam replied to criticism of the EFA’s choice saying: “We did not sign an ordinary manager. He’s a very big name on the international stage.”