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.