CAIRO: Egypt’s display in their stunning 1-0 defeat by Niger was their worst one ever, assistant coach Hamada Sedki said on Sunday.
The Pharaohs were embarrassed by tiny Niger, ranked 154 in the world, in the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers to risk missing out on a place in the biennial competition for the first time since 1982.
A first-half goal from Amadou Kader gave the hosts a shocking victory over an out-of-sorts Egypt side, who could only bag one point from their opening two matches in Group G.
"We have no excuses for that defeat," Sedki told Al-Hayat TV in a dejected tone.
"I will not say the hot weather or the poor pitch affected our performance because we have the sufficient experience to deal with all that.
"The technical staff and the players shoulder the responsibility for what happened tonight. This display was the worst one in Egypt’s history."
Seven-time African champions Egypt created few chances despite having the better possession.
Their defensive fragilities and the inability of midfielders to feed the strikers, who were equally ineffective, cost the Pharaohs dearly in a night to forget.
"Many players did not follow our instructions, and this resulted in that poor display," Sedki added.
"That performance was not expected at all. We did not deserve to claim the three points."
Coach Hassan Shehata reverted to a traditional 3-5-2 formation after he was criticized for employing a 4-4-2 strategy in the 1-1 home draw to Sierra Leone in Egypt’s Group G opener.
However, he surprisingly opted to field Zamalek’s Mahmoud Fathallah as a sweeper although his club teammate Hani Saied played in that position during Egypt’s triumphant Nations Cup campaigns in 2008 and 2010.
"Fathallah is no stranger to that position. He played as a sweeper several times with the national team," Sedki said when asked about Shehata’s preference to play the 28-year-old.
"He was not to blame for the shaky display of the defense."