Shehata and Egypt part company

Former player and three-time Africa Cup of Nations winner leaves after seven years as Pharaohs hit bottom of qualifying.

    Hassan Shehata, who led Egypt to a record seventh Africa Cup of Nations title last year, has left the team after they fell to the bottom of their qualifying group for the continental tournament.

    Shehata, who won the last three Cup of Nations and took the side to one of their highest FIFA rankings, parted company with the Pharaohs on Monday after overseeing a 0-0 draw with South Africa in Cairo the day before.

    The result all but ended any chance of defending their crown in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in January 2012, which would be the first time they have failed to qualify in 33 years.

    Angry fans

    The poor showing by one of Africa's dominant teams left fans angry, with many taking to social media sites like Twitter to vent their frustrations.

    Another 500 gathered outside the offices of the FA on Monday calling for Shehata's resignation and that of all the board members.

    Shehata has been rumoured for months to be on the way out partly due to his team's performance but also because he was a close ally of Hosni Mubarak, the former president, who was forced from office February 11 following 18 days of anti-government protests.

    But as the political winds shifted, the normally confident Shehata sensed his days were numbered. He seemed increasingly frustrated in recent weeks with the constant criticism of him and the links fans were making between the team and Mubarak's National Democratic Party.

    "I'm very unhappy with what is going on. The atmosphere is corrupt and it is very difficult to work in such circumstances,'' Shehata told a local newspaper in May.

    "This corrupt atmosphere is mainly down to some media personnel and football analysts, who have a very negative influence on Egyptian football.''

    Aging players

    Not everyone has blamed Shehata, however, with Youssef el-Dahshouri, the former association head, accusing what he described as a group of aging players being the sole reason for the team's struggles.

    "Dissolving the coaching staff will not solve the problem,'' he said.

    "The team will be doomed to fail in any tournament because of the players' age.''

    Meanwhile, Samir Zaher, head of the Egyptian federation, said in a statement that "the federation has full respect for the management team over the past six years in terms of accomplishments".

    Egypt were ranked ninth internationally last June but have since fallen to 36th position.

    The federation did not name a successor to Shehata. Two qualifying matches remain against Sierra Leone and Niger.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.