July 7 – The president of the Egyptian Football Association Hani Abou-Rida has resigned after the host nation suffered a shock defeat in the last-16 of the African Cup of Nations.
Whilst it was expected that head coach Javier Aguirre would lose his job after the stunning 1-0 loss to South Africa, Rida has also fallen on his sword and sacked his entire technical team as well.
After years of negative headlines surrounding Egyptian football – on and off the field – fans the length of and breadth of the football-mad nation were hoping to see the national team bring a smile back to their faces after being named as a replacement host for Cameroon for Africa’s showpiece tournament.
Instead, the country was plunged into a collective sense of disappointment and disbelief when rank outsiders South Africa – who only scraped into the knockout phase via spots reserved for the best third-place group teams – stunned the record seven-time African champions whose line-up included Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah and who were among the favourites.
Rida, who said he was stepping down as a “moral obligation”, had led the Egyptian FA since 2016, in a three-year reign marked by controversy whilst Aguirre, only appointed 11 months ago, had come in for criticism for his management of the side with Egypt legend Wael Gomaa accusing the Mexican of having “no tactics or strategy”.
Aguirre’s contract, which saw him earn a monthly salary of $120,000, was supposed to run until the 2022 World Cup but a disastrous AFCON elimination saw him depart just hours after the hosts were knocked out.
Tournament debutants Madagascar produced another upset to beat DR Congo 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw and seal a quarter-final spot.
Because they were ranked among the six worst teams on the continent, they took part in the very first match of campaign – in the preliminary round of qualifying against Sao Tome e Principe in early 2017.
But having beaten three-time winners Nigeria in the group stage as well as Burundi, Madagascar’s fairytale run continued as they succeeded where both Egypt and holders Cameroon failed.
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