CAIRO: Hassan Shehata admitted that he was about to resign as Egypt coach following the team s failure to reach the World Cup but had a change of heart after President Hosni Mubarak offered him “moral support.
The Pharaohs were one step away from qualifying for football s most prestigious event for the first time since 1990 but slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Algeria last month in a controversial playoff in Sudan.
Disappointment swept over the country but people still stood by the team and appreciated the players efforts to end the country s World Cup jinx.
President Mubarak then phoned Shehata to congratulate him for Egypt s displays before honoring all the players and technical staff members at the Presidential Palace.
I decided to leave my post following the defeat against Algeria, Shehata said in an interview with Modern Sport, but the president s words forced me to reconsider my stance. I couldn t depart after seeing the support he showed.
The highly-respected tactician, who guided Egypt to back-to-back Nations Cup titles in 2006 and 2008, recently penned a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the helm until 2012.