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Héctor Cúper speaks to FIFA about Egypt role
Current Egyptian National team manager Héctor Cúper was recently interviewed by fifa.com, an interview which gave a great insight into how the Argentinean has been adapting to life in Egypt as well as an insight into how he is currently handling the pressure of the job.
Cúper, who has been in charge of the Pharaohs since the departure of Shawky Gharib in late 2014/ early 2015 has so far managed a decent record, recording six wins and two losses during his spell at the helm of the National Team. Speaking to FIFA, Cuper answered a number of questions across an arry of different subjects. When quizzed on why he had made the transition to Egypt, Cuper responded by saying “The only question I had when I came here was: what do Egyptians exactly want me to achieve? They had a big target which was to reach the World Cup and to win the African Nations Cup after some disappointments. These goals will not be easy and will need time and hard work, and we will be under pressure to deliver, but I believe we can do these things. Otherwise I would not have accepted the offer in the first place.”
Cúper also discussed the emergence of youth players within the National Team setup, citing players such as Al Ahly’s Ramadan Sobhi and Zamalek’s Mostafa Fathi as exceptional talents that have been unearthed in Egypt over the past couple of years. The emergence of such talents underlines a change in Egyptian football, with Cuper also touching on the golden generation of players who won 3 African Cup of Nations titles in a row for the Pharaohs, stating the need to move past this era and develop a new era of champions.
“We have the right balance between young and experienced players, some of whom play in top European leagues,” he added.
“I haven’t faced any problems since I came here. I adapted very well to everything and the people have warmly welcomed me. Here, there is the kind of football passion that any manager would like to see. You can smell this in the air,”Cúper added.
“Some rich countries naturally have great living conditions but lack this aspect, which is very important to motivate any coach. Being under constant pressure is a blessing because it shows how people care about football and what you are doing.”Cúper stated, underlining the fact that he is very happy with his job with the Pharaohs.
Cúper then proceeded to touch on Qualifiers, in particular the crucial upcoming African Cup of Nations double header against Nigeria, as well as the shock defeat to Niger in the previous round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying. “There is no such thing as easy opponents as journalists call them. We must respect any team regardless of the ranking and history, because Egypt itself has suffered in the past qualifiers because it dropped points in what you call easy games. I would be lying if I said that I don’t wish to avoid certain teams in the World Cup draw, but my job is to get Egypt prepared for any opponent. My job is to make the likes of Côte d’Ivoire, for instance, be worried that they will face us.” Cúper added.
Concluding,Cúper also touched on how important football is to the Egyptian public and how he reminds the players of this everyday. “I repeatedly tell my players that we can make people happy. Many people are suffering from the problems of everyday life. Some are poor, some are unemployed. For those people, football might be their ultimate source of joy.” he stated.
The Pharaohs will now face stern opposition in Nigeria in a double headed clash, with the ties being crucial to the outcome of the group, with only the group winner qualifying for the African Cup. Cuper, who is seemingly enjoying the challenge, will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders in the lead up to the ties, with Egypt not qualifying for the past 3 editions of the prestigious tournament.
Full credits go to FIFA.com for the original interview.