Monday,18 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1405, ( 9 - 15 August 2018)
Monday,18 February, 2019
Issue 1405, ( 9 - 15 August 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Pharaohs’ new coach

Abu Rida welcomes Aguirre at the EFA
Abu Rida welcomes Aguirre at the EFA
Al-Ahram Weekly

The Egyptian Football Federation announced earlier this week that former Mexico coach and player Javier Aguirre has taken charge of the national team, reports Marawan Zayed. The deal is with immediate effect following the dismissal of Hector Cuper after Egypt’s shocking World Cup showing and early exit in Russia.

The 59-year-old coach will lead the country during the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign aiming to take Egypt to a second successive World Cup.

Aguirre is no stranger to World Cups, having guided his native Mexico to two tournaments in 2002 and 2010, reaching round 16 on both occasions. Aguirre’s most recent job was the head coach of UAE side Al-Wahda where he managed to win the UAE league title and Presidents Cup before leaving his post in June 2017.

His first managerial job was in 1995 when he managed Italian side Atlante for just one season before leaving, staying jobless for years before going back home to lead Mexican side Pachuca from 1998 till June 2001. He then left Pachuca to head his national side which reached round 16 of the World Cup, a huge success back then.

After the World Cup Aguirre resigned and was appointed head coach of Spanish side Osasuna for four years until he left them in May 2006 to take charge of Atletico Madrid until February 2009. He left Spain to go back to leading his country in the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign in which he reached the World Cup as well as round 16 for the second time in his career.

Once again, he resigned after the World Cup and went back to Spain to take charge of Real Zaragoza where he stayed for two years before leaving to another Spanish team in the form of Espanyol where he again stayed for two years. Aguirre then went back to international football but this time with the Japanese national team where he stayed for just seven months before they sacked him due to an ongoing match-fixing probe against him in Spain from his time with Real Zaragoza.

The story was that Zaragoza needed to win their last game of the 2010-2011 season against Levante to avoid relegation, which they managed to do as the game ended in a 2-1 win for Aguirre’s players. However, it was reported that Levante’s players were paid to deliberately lose the game and that Aguirre was aware of the fix. Aguirre denied any wrongdoing but the Japanese federation opted to sack him before the World Cup qualifying campaign fearing that the case would have a negative effect on the players and their preparation.

Aguirre’s biggest achievements as a manager was finishing fourth in the Spanish league with Osasuna which earned them a spot in the Champions League third qualifying phase, taking Atletico Madrid back to the Europa League after years of finishing in the middle of the table before taking them to the Champions League the following season to confirm his status as a hero to the fans.

Hani Abu Rida, head of the Egyptian federation, praised the incoming coach and expressed his delight at being able to bring in someone with such a strong CV. Abu Rida added that Aguirre and his two personal assistants will be paid $120,000 a month. If Egypt manages to win the Africa Cup of Nations with Aguirre he will get a bonus of $250,000 and get double that amount if he takes Egypt to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

In the recently concluded World Cup in Russia, Egypt lost all three games in their group stage matches against Uruguay, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

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