Egypt's national football team's head coach Hector Cuper reacts during a news conference at the Egyptian Federation about his team's preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, in Cairo, Egypt May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
CAIRO – 2 June 2018: Egypt tied with Colombia 0-0 on Friday after 90 minutes full of awful football from the Egyptian side, in the friendly game held in Atleti Azzurri stadium in Italy.
The national team played one of its worst games ever under the leadership of Hector Cuper, who always plays with an ultra defensive tactic, but it wasn’t because of Colombia’s game, the real problem was choosing players for positions they don’t play in their teams.
Cuper also insists to commit the same errors by putting wingers on strikers’ position, as he always uses Mahmoud Abdel Moneim “Kahraba”, Al-Itiihad of Saudi Arabia’s winger, as a striker since the last African Cup of Nations, in addition to putting Shikabala the winger as a substitute to Abdallah Al-Said, Al-Ahly’s former playmaker.
He also relies as usual on Ramadan Sobhi, Stoke City midfielder, who is not among the basic starting eleven of his team, in addition to his weak performance with the national team which always reflects a lack of experience and responsibility. Sobhi missed a ball while he was standing inches away from the goal where he was totally free, but he chose to shoot the ball with a soft head to the direction of David Ospina, Colombia’s goalkeeper.
The most prominent mistake the Argentinean coach made in Friday’s game against Colombia, was using Ahmed Elmohamady, Aston Villa’s winger, as a replacement for Mohamed Salah, Liverpool’s injured winger, and didn’t try Mahmoud Abdel Razek “Shikabala” in the same position where he had played all his football career. Meanwhil,e Cuper didn’t call the talented Hussein Al-Shahat, Al Ain attacking midfielder, for the national team when the player was one of the top players of the Emarati Premier League, although he joined Al Ain in the second half of the season.
Any coach would try to use Al-Shahat or Shikabala as replacements for Salah, but Cuper always surprises the Egyptians with such decisions.
It is worth mentioning that Hector Cuper has won only two titles in his entire coaching career, and the two of them were the Spanish Super Cup, the first one was in 1999/2000 season with Valencia, and the other one was with Real Mallorca in 1998/1999 season.
Cuper coached more than a dozen of clubs, but the best of them was Inter Milan from 2001 to 2003, where he was the main reason of pushing Ronaldo the Brazilian phenomenon, to leave the team even though Ronaldo was the best player in the world in that period, and these are some of Ronaldo’s statements to RAI TV channel on Cuper while he was playing in Inter:
- “He didn't play me when I could, and he did it when I couldn't.”
- “Sometimes, he didn't accept doctors' recommendations.”
- “I don't want to name names but 60 percent of the team thinks like me - some of
them probably detest him now, but they can't say that.”
Cuper made good results with Egypt; he led Egypt to the final of the African Cup of Nation, after eight years of absence from the tournament, in addition to his historical achievement of qualifying to the World Cup after 28 years of absence, but his role was supposed to be finished as soon as the qualifiers ended.
To be honest, the Pharaohs are not going to Russia for the World Cup title, but all Egyptians are aspiring for respectful performance among the top teams of the world. Egyptians are not aspiring to see their national team on defense the entire 90 minutes of the game. The team has high quality players who need an opportunity to show their greatness.