CAIRO: Egypt assistant coach Shawki Gharib conceded the Pharaohs’ technical staff made some mistakes in the 1-1 home draw with Sierra Leone in the first round of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying stage.
The seven-time African champions put in a lackluster performance and clearly lacked the necessary firepower to pull off a victory over their opponents, who were much better than expected.
Egypt coach Hassan Shehata employed an unusual 4-4-2 formation and fielded inexperienced strikers Ahmed Ali and Ahmed Mekki after he left out key figures, such as Amr Zaki and Emad Meteb.
Gharib said after the match: "The coaching staff are to blame for the unsatisfying result. Some technical mistakes as well as the players’ poor display cost us a victory.
"We are responsible for this frustrating draw but we still have a chance to qualify for the competition. As defending champions we have to.
"We lost two points today but there are still 15 points that we will work hard to gain.
"The players should redeem themselves in the coming games. The season has just got underway and they are yet to reach peak form."
Now Egypt are in Group G third place with one point, while Sierra Leone lie second.
South Africa, who beat Niger 2-0 on Saturday, are at the top of the group on three points.
The groups leaders will go through in addition to the best two second-placed teams.