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Cúper: I thank football for introducing me to Egypt
The Argentine manager opened by expressing his pleasure at the immense popularity of football in Egypt. “People in Egypt adore football. I was surprised; I knew that this was the case in Argentina, Italy, Greece, and Turkey but this was a surprise to me. This is all in spite of the empty stands. I thank football for introducing me to this country.”
The 59-year-old former Villareal manager continued to comment on his comfort level in his new country, stating, “I’ve never felt like a foreigner here, even though I don’t speak the language. Arabic is a very difficult language, but Egyptians are a very helpful people. I’ve seen it first hand. There’s a lot of love everywhere.”
“Driving is crazy in Egypt. It used to take a physical and mental toll on me, but I’ve adjusted. Also, I love molekheya,” Cúper relayed.
Moreover, Cúper spoke about the Egypt squad, their goals and expectations, and his relationship with managers throughout the country.
“I have big faith in this group of players, but we’re nowhere near where we want to be at this time. We need to work hard. There aren’t any divisions in the NT dressing room, and I don’t have issues with any of the Egyptian Premier League managers. I have talked with Ferreira and Garrido. I’ve coordinated with Hossam El Badry to avoid clashes over player selections.”
Cúper continued with remarks on the spectator controversy: “Fans need to be allowed back into the stadium… Watching football always brings joy, but we must not let our passion translate into violence and unseemly behaviour. Last but not least, in order to really enjoy victory, you must learn to accept defeat.”
The still undefeated Egypt manager spoke about criticisms revolving around his team selections. “In football, every fan can speak their mind. This is why everyone has a different opinion. Reaching the World Cup and winning the African Cup of Nations is what every Egyptian wants,” Cúper explained to Ramadan.
More specifically, Cúper addressed comments that Hossam Ghaly was wrongfully snubbed from the most recent Egypt squad by remarking, “Hossam Ghaly is a technically strong player, and I have nothing against him. He could be called up at any time.”
Finally, Cúper ended the interview by discussing the uphill battles both Al Ahly and Zamalek face in the second legs of their upcoming CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals. Al Ahly lost 1-0 to Orlando Pirates in South Africa last week, while Zamalek were defeated 5-1 by Etoile du Sahel in Tunisia, and while he believes the Red Devils can advance, he did not say the same for their arch-rivals.