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Egypt FA to meet over Ghana loss
CAIRO (AP) - The Egyptian Football Association’s board of directors will meet on Monday to “discuss” the heavy 6-1 loss to Ghana in the first leg of their World Cup playoff, a surprisingly one-sided defeat which has put American coach Bob Bradley’s future in doubt and restored a feeling of gloom to the North African country’s top sport.
The EFA said the meeting under president Jamal Allam is over “the events” of the Ghana game, but Bradley’s immediate role for the second leg of the playoff will likely be on the agenda amid reports that he will be asked to step aside for that game next month.
The EFA is unlikely to make a formal decision over Bradley until the meeting.
Egypt also has a problem over its preferred venue for the second leg after initially electing to play the game in Cairo and in front of fans in the trouble-hit capital. Ghana asked FIFA to reconsider that and Egyptian authorities must provide security guarantees by Oct. 28.
On the field, Egypt’s progress under Bradley over the last two years was rapidly undone in Tuesday’s hammering in Kumasi, which left the record seven-time African champion almost certain to extend its World Cup drought to 24 years. Egypt has only played at two previous World Cups and its poor record in qualifying for the tournament is a source of great discontent among fans.
Bradley, the former United States coach, said after the Ghana loss that qualifying for the Brazil World Cup was now nearly impossible. It’s been seen as an especially embarrassing loss back home at a time when Egyptians were just beginning to feel good about their soccer again following two years of violence and unrest that badly damaged the sport.
A deadly riot at an Egyptian club game in February 2012 left 74 people dead, the worst soccer violence in decades which resulted in two straight league seasons being canceled.
But Bradley and his squad initially defied all those problems by winning all six group-stage qualifiers, the only African team out of 40 to do that. Yet having reached the decisive 10-team playoffs, Egypt fell behind in the fifth minute and was totally dominated by a ruthless Ghana team.
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