Egypt FA chief quits after shock Cup of Nations exit

Egyptian Football Association president Hani Abou Rida said his resignation was a ‘moral obligation’ after the national team’s elimination from the African Cup of Nations. (AFP)
Updated 07 July 2019
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Egypt FA chief quits after shock Cup of Nations exit

  • Hani Abou Rida had led the Egyptian FA since 2016
  • Egypt had been tipped as leading title contenders on home soil but came unstuck against the South African team

CAIRO: The president of the Egyptian Football Association Hani Abou Rida resigned late Saturday and “sacked” his technical team after the hosts’ shock elimination from the African Cup of Nations.
The decision had been “a moral obligation” said the Egyptian FA in a statement after “disappointing Egypt’s supporters” in a 1-0 defeat to South Africa, adding that all board members had been invited to resign.
Saturday’s match saw rank outsiders South Africa stun the record seven-time African champions whose line-up included Liverpool star Mohamed Salah and who were among the favorites to win the tournament.
Rida had led the Egyptian FA since 2016, in a three-year reign marked by controversy, including a 2018 World Cup fiasco that saw the Pharaohs fail to get out of the group stages after losing all of their matches.
The location of the team’s training base in Grozny, the capital of Muslim-majority Chechnya, spurred widespread criticism — especially from human rights groups — over concerns of abuses by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, supported by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
The federation has also feuded with Salah, the reigning African Footballer of the Year and won the Champions League last month with his club Liverpool, who has accused the body of misusing his image inside the country.
Recently the reinstatement of a player who had been banned following sexual harassment charges had provoked further widespread criticism of the Egyptian FA on social media.
Egypt’s coach Javier Aguirre came in for criticism for his management of the side during the African Cup of Nations, with Egypt legend Wael Gomaa accusing the Mexican of having “no tactics or strategy.”
Following Saturday’s defeat, Aguirre said he alone took the blame for the host nation’s disastrous campaign and indicated he would hold talks with the Egyptian football association over his future.
Egypt had been tipped as leading title contenders on home soil but came unstuck against a South African team that only scraped through into the knockout phase via the last of four spots reserved for the best third-place sides.
Thembinkosi Lorch scored the only goal of the last-16 match in the 85th minute to give South Africa a stunning victory.
“No decision until this moment. I spoke to the players in the dressing room, and tomorrow (Sunday) will speak with EFA officials,” Aguirre said after the final whistle.
“I think the game was open and there were chances for both teams. The only difference was the goal for South Africa,” he added.


Boult, Southee rattle Sri Lanka in second Test

Updated 23 August 2019
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Boult, Southee rattle Sri Lanka in second Test

  • Weather permitting, extended playing time is planned for the day after only 36.3 overs were possible on Thursday due to rain in the Sri Lankan capital

COLOMBO: Trent Boult and Tim Southee led New Zealand’s charge against Sri Lanka on day two of the rain-hit second Test on Friday, with the host skipper Dimuth Karunaratne’s offering resistance with a half-century.
Boult took two early wickets in one over after Sri Lanka resumed the day on 85 for two at Colombo’s P. Sara Oval, where the start was delayed due to a wet outfield.
Sri Lanka were 144 for six at lunch with Dhananjaya de Silva, on 32, and Dilruwan Perera, on five, at the crease.
Southee, like Boult, also delivered a double-wicket maiden as the duo put on a superb display of seam bowling under overcast conditions.
Boult got overnight batsman Angelo Mathews caught behind for two to reach a landmark of 250 Test wickets — only the third Kiwi bowler to achieve the feat.
He trapped Kusal Perera lbw for nought after just three balls as Sri Lanka slipped to 93-4 and would have been in further trouble had Boult held on to a simple catch from de Silva off his own bowling a few overs later.
Karunaratne also got a lifeline on 61 when Kane Williamson could not grab a tough chance at short mid-wicket off Ajaz Patel.
But the left-hander, who completed his 23rd Test fifty after resuming the day on 49, soon fell, caught behind off Southee for 65.
Southee struck again in the same over to send Niroshan Dickwella trudging back to the pavilion for nought.
Perera then played out the rest of the session with de Silva.
Medium-pace bowler Colin de Grandhomme and spinner William Somerville took a wicket each on the opening day after Sri Lanka elected to bat first.
Weather permitting, extended playing time is planned for the day after only 36.3 overs were possible on Thursday due to rain in the Sri Lankan capital.