Egypt FA calls emergency meeting

Egyptian Football Association president Samir Zaher has called

an emergency board meeting for Thursday after a poor start to

African Cup of Nations qualifying by the defending champions.

Zaher called the meeting ”to discuss all matters relating to

the team and its position as regards the qualifiers for the African

Nations Cup 2012 scheduled to be held in (Equatorial) Guinea and

Gabon,” the EFA said on its website.

Struggling Egypt slumped to a 1-0 loss to South Africa on

Saturday and remains at the bottom of qualifying Group G, with just

one point from three games.

The Pharaohs, who have won the last three African Cups, need to

beat South Africa in their next qualifying match in Cairo in June

to keep their campaign alive. Egypt last missed an African Cup of

Nations in 1982 – when it withdrew – and last failed to qualify for

the championship in 1978.

The seven-time African champion’s poor recent run has also led

to calls for experienced coach Hassan Shehata to be sacked, even

after he led Egypt to three straight African titles in 2006, 2008

and 2010.

Shehata’s position could be on the agenda at Thursday’s


Already on poor form, Egypt’s footballers have also had to cope

with the effects of the country’s recent political turmoil.

Home-based players have missed match practice after the domestic

football league was put on hold during the protests that swept

long-standing president Hosni Mubarak from power.

The league is scheduled to recommence on April 15, having been

called off in early February.