FEATURE: Stubbornness and incompetence mares Javier Aguirre’s time with Egypt
The Pharaohs Round of 16 exit at the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday proved costly for the Mexican manager and his staff.
The Bafana Bafana were the better side and deserved the victory, which came thanks to an 85th-minute winner from Thembinkosi Lorch.
Following the humiliating exit, EFA president Hany Abou-Rida left his position alongside a number of board members, including Hazem Emam and Ahmed Megahed.
The EFA also announced the sacking of Javier Aguirre as the Egyptian national team manager after the disappointing 2019 AFCON campaign.
Aguirre was appointed as Egypt manager in August 2018 and since then he took charge of the Pharaohs in 12 games across all competitions.
During his time in Egypt, the Pharaohs won nine games, drew one, while losing only twice. The national team scored 25 goals under his charge while conceding seven.
At AFCON, Egypt were solid defensively, with their only goal conceded being Torch’s winner for South Africa. But can this be attributed to Aguirre? Mohamed El-Shenaway was MOTM for Egypt 3/4 times, which is never a good sign for a manager, let alone a team trying to win a tournament.
His contract which saw him earn a monthly salary of $120,000 was supposed to run until the 2022 World Cup, but a disastrous AFCON campaign saw him depart early.
Egypt regressed under the tutelage of a coach who neither understood tactics nor the mere task of deploying players in their rightful position, which was rather embarrassing for a country famed for producing exquisite and winning tacticians.
Javier Aguirre lacked flexibility, he remained stubbornly devoted to a conservative approach. While Senegal, Algeria, and Ghana are playing with easily definable styles, Egypt’s remains inconsistent. A lack of intensity means they rank well below their rivals for sprints and distance covered. Aguirre never appeared to know his best team, either. Performances were often disjointed.
In order to prosper against such intense competition – as Hassan Shehata so often did against his rivals – is to act boldly, decisively and with intelligence in order to gain and hold ground.
Who should the EFA hire next?
It’s time for Egypt to hire a local manager such as Hossam Hassan. From his long journey with the national team, he understands the team play of the Pharaohs and what it means to fight for your nation. The former international forward led Al Masry to a top-four finish in the league for three consecutive seasons. Hossam had a big effect on the Green Eagles since joining them, as he was able to a lead a young unskillful team battling relegation that previous year to a top-four finish the next season.
His experience in international football includes working with the Jordanian national team in 2013 where they impressed and finished third in their group beating Uzbekistan in a playoff, however, they did not make it to the World Cup as they eventually lost to Uruguay despite an impressive draw at home.
Managing Egypt wouldn’t have been his first time leading an international team. From past experiences, it is proven that local managers were able to guide the national team for greater success, for example; Egyptian legend Mahmoud El-Gohary, who managed to guide Egypt to their first World Cup appearance in 56 years – the 1990 edition in Italy. Another example is the general of African football, Hassan Shehata, who led Egypt to three successive titles at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006, 2008, and 2010. Egypt became the first African nation to achieve such record. As a result of this, the Egyptian team were ranked as high as 9th in the FIFA World Rankings.
Hossam Hassan would be a great successor to Aguirre, as he is well known for his attacking type of play which the national team could have benefited from that a lot.
Who do you think would be the rightful heir for the manager job?
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