Former MLS and U.S. men’s national team coach Bob Bradley was appointed today by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) to coach their senior men’s national team. Bradley, fired by the USMNT this summer, had been rumored for months to be taking over the Pharaohs but was just today confirmed finally as the head coach. This is Bradley’s first coaching opportunity outside of the United States; at various times in the past fifteen months he had been linked with Fulham, Aston Villa and Santos Laguna. Bradley follows in the footsteps of a fellow USMNT head man, Steve Sampson, who took over the Costa Rican national team after his disastrous U.S. national team stint.
While Bradley’s spokespeople have not commented on the hiring, EFA spokesman Azmy Megahed told the Associated Press that Bradley is expected to arrive in Cairo this weekend to finalise the deal. “All is good. Bradley will be here on Sunday to sign the contract,” Megahed said. Terms have not been disclosed.
During the interview process, Bradley had taken a veiled shot at American soccer, telling CNN Arabic, “The Egyptian team is well qualified to be a dangerous opponent, but it only lacks some organisation on the field. The Egyptian player is a talented one unlike the American who depends mainly on his fitness.” Bradley reportedly beat out former Colombia coach Francisco Maturana, former Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac and ex-Montenegro manager Zoran Filipovic for the head coaching job.
The Egyptian job is certainly a challenging one, as the team has recently fallen on hard times. The Pharaohs won their third straight African Cup of Nations in 2010, but failed to qualify for the 2012 tournament; it was the first time in 33 years they did not qualify for the tournament. Historically, while the team has had success in the continental tournament, it has only qualified for two World Cups with the most recent being the 1990 Italian edition. The team is mostly composed of Egyptian league players, with the biggest names being Borussia Dortmund’s Mohamed Zidan and Sunderland’s Ahmen El-Muhammadi. The roster is older and many of the upper youth team players have yet to catch on internationally, yet Egypt still has a FIFA ranking of 34.
Qualifying for the World Cup, especially with the rise of Ghana, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, will be a challenge for the Egyptians but not impossible. Currently, the Confederation of African Football is in the group stage, with Egypt in a group with Guinea (68), Zimbabwe (86), and either Comoros (175) or Mozambique (103). If Egypt finishes first, they move to the third round with the nine other group winners, where they will play five two-legged knock-out ties. The five teams with the highest point totals advance to the World Cup. This is a long way of saying that as long as Egypt takes care of business (like they should) they have a great chance of making the 2014 World Cup, which would go a long way to restoring Bradley’s international reputation.
What do you think of Bob Bradley’s new job? Is it good for U.S. soccer that an American coach is managing outside of CONCACAF?