Egyptian FA has ‘renewed confidence’ in Shehata

The Egyptian Football Association on Thursday pledged to keep

under-pressure coach Hassan Shehata in charge of the struggling

national team through the rest of its African Cup of Nations

qualifying campaign.

Following an emergency board meeting called by president Samir

Zaher, the EFA said in a statement it had ”renewed confidence in

Hassan Shehata, coach of the national team, and his staff to lead

the team through the next phase (of qualifiers).”

Seven-time African Cup winner and three-time defending champion

Egypt is bottom of its qualifying group and looks set to miss out

on next year’s continental championship in Gabon and Equatorial

Guinea.

A 1-0 loss to South Africa last weekend left Egypt with one

point from three games in Group G and piled the pressure on the

experienced Shehata.

Egypt – the continent’s most successful team – now has to win

against South Africa in a return fixture in Cairo in June to keep

its failing campaign alive.

Thursday’s statement also said there was ”agreement” within

the EFA that Egypt’s domestic football league would recommence on

April 13 after it was postponed in early February because of the

protests that removed long-serving president Hosni Mubarak from

power.

Zaher had called the emergency meeting of the association’s

board of directors on Monday to discuss the position of the

national team in qualifiers for the 2012 tournament following

Saturday’s loss to an injury-time winner by South Africa striker

Katlego Mphela.

It was the first time the Pharaohs have lost a competitive

international to South Africa.

Egypt was also beaten away in Niger and drew at home to Sierra

Leone to put it in danger of missing out on the competition it has

previously dominated.