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EXCLUSIVE: Egypt FA board behind Senegal friendly debacle
Egypt’s Football Association (EFA) knew since Friday at the latest – but more likely for at least two weeks – that Egypt was not slated to take on Senegal’s “A” national team in their scheduled Dubai friendly, but rather, its under-23 side.
According to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation – who spoke to KingFut on condition of anonymity – the logistics surrounding the match make it impossible for the EFA to have been in the dark regarding its scheduled October 8 opponent.
Preparation for Egypt’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, which kicks-off next month, has been thrown into limbo after repeated friendly match cancellations.
KingFut has learned that a Netherlands-based agency called Nonstop is behind the Senegal arrangement, as well as Egypt’s October 11 friendly against Zambia.
The agency is headed by Omar Nayel, who has links to the EFA through former footballer Mohamed El-Zayat and EFA Vice President Hassan Fareed.
Fareed and Nayel, who opened communication with the Senegalese FA on behalf of the EFA, both received an email from FIFA confirming that the friendly would indeed be against Senegal’s under-23s.
The two asked Egypt Team Director Alaa Abdelaziz to cancel all other friendlies and break communication with other agents in order to leave Nonstop alone to work the Senegal deal.
World football governing body FIFA requires authorization forms to be approved at least five days prior to a match, meaning the EFA knew its opponent would be Senegal’s youth team no later than last Friday.
FIFA rejected any initially proposed Egypt vs. Senegal “A” team match on the basis of a long-established rule not permitting the same national team to play on two different continents during the same international break.
According to a source, Nonstop used Senegal’s under-23 team as a backup plan – likely to ensure getting paid despite Senegal’s “A” team already having prior commitments – namely, a friendly in Algeria October 13.
One source says the Senegalese FA has been “transparent since day one” regarding the match, pitting the blame squarely on the shoulders of EFA board members and Nonstop, continuously meddling in the plans of the Pharaohs’ technical staff.
In addition to authorization forms and approval from FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation must also be involved given that the match was slated for Dubai.
“That chain of communication doesn’t happen in three days. It likely takes about two weeks,” according to the same source.
“FIFA has to give the all clear before anyone boards flights,” the source added, indicating that it’s impossible for the EFA to have not known it was facing Senegal’s under-23s before taking off for Dubai.
Repeated denials from the EFA regarding who they would face – as well as the delay in cancelling the match – was possibly done to ensure the processing of various payments related to the match, according to sources.
It’s possible that the EFA incurred a financial loss from the cancellation, but that certain board members – along with Nonstop – actually profited.
“Omar [Nayel] likely has his money so long as the team landed in Dubai,” said one source.