While his former team was securing qualification for The Hex, Bob Bradley was trying his best to get a precarious situation with Egypt’s national team back on track.
The country’s domestic season was suspended in February, giving most Pharaohs little chance at competitive soccer. With the team also out of Cup of Nations qualifying, the current African champions have been forced to scrape together friendlies before World Cup qualifying resumes in March. Last Friday, Egypt downed Congo 3-0, but stepping up a level against Tunisia on Tuesday, the Pharoahs lost 2-0.
Both teams were without key players, though the result will be slightly more discouraging for the Egyptians. They didn’t have their key Al-Ahly contingent (away preparing for their club’s Champions League matches), but Tunisia had only two days rest between their Cup of Nations-clinching performance this weekend and the friendly in Abu Dhabi. As a result, the Tunisians gave six players their international debut.
You can read more about the match at the excellent King Fut blog.
While the Egypt job looked like a prime opportunity when Bradley look it in September of last year, the February stadium disaster in Port Said has created a whole new series of challenges. The job suddenly has the feel of a rebuilding project, albeit a very unique one.
Getting Egypt to their first World Cup since 1990 is still the goal, but it’s difficult to assess how realistic that is until real matches resume, the players are back to their usual routines – until the situation returns to normal with Egyptian soccer.