Egypt suffered heartbreak at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations when Senegal came out on top of an enthralling penalty shoot-out to pip Mohamed Salah and co to the prize.
Despite an underwhelming scoring return of just four goals in seven matches at the tournament, Carlos Queiroz’s side reached the grand final, only to stumble against Sadio Mane’s team.
After failing to lead the nation to a record-extending eighth AFCON title, the Portuguese manager left the managerial post following the showpiece collapse in Yaounde.
It will be up to Querioz’s successor Ehab Galal to lead the Pharaohs to the upcoming AFCON.
Ivory Coast will host the next installment of the most prestigious African tournament in the summer of 2023.
How has Galal started his managerial tenure at Egypt?
Galal’s touchline debut at the national team saw Egypt pull off an unconvincing 1-0 home triumph over Guinea, courtesy of Mostafa Mohamed’s late winner.
Though he got his managerial off to a flying start in Egypt’s 2023 AFCON qualifying opener, the 54-year-old’s tactics have faltered in the next two matches.
Galal’s men failed to live up to the billing as odds-on pre-game favourites against Ethiopia in their second qualifying Group D fixture, as two first-half goals secured the Ethiopians’ comfortable 2-0 triumph.
Without the nation’s hero and one of the world’s best players, Mohamed Salah, the Pharaohs slipped to a morale-crushing 4-1 defeat to South Korea in June’s friendly.
So things are not going Galal’s way in the early days of his stewardship, casting doubt on his ability to guide the country to a fourth successive AFCON appearance.
According to the Egypt Independent, the ex-Pyramids boss could even quit the job after his side’s humiliating reverse in Seoul.
Egypt’s chances of qualifying for the tournament
After the opening two Group D matchdays, all four sides in the section have three points to their name, with Egypt languishing at the bottom of the table.
With the 2023 AFCON qualifying campaign resuming in September, Galal will have plenty of time to put the pieces together and inspire his side’s comeback.
Egypt’s next AFCON qualifier pits them against FIFA’s 120th-ranked nation Malawi on home soil, a game that Liverpool fans in the UK would be able to watch on soccer streaming sites as it will give them a chance to watch Mo Salah in international action.
Anything other than a victory against the Flames would be a major upset, and it could significantly derail the Pharaohs’ hopes of claiming a top-two finish.
Indeed, home clashes against Malawi and Ethiopia could prove crucial to Egypt’s bid to qualify for the tournament, especially considering their woeful away form.
Excluding the nation’s decent 2021 AFCON campaign, Galal’s lads have lost all three internationals held on foreign soil in 2022, succumbing to multi-goal margins in each defeat.
It’s, therefore, easy to assume that Egypt will see all-needed points at home.
Salah alone is not enough
A lack of prolificacy has been Egypt’s Achilles heel in 2022.
Except for a 2-1 extra-time victory over Morocco in the 2021 AFCON quarter-finals, the Pharaohs have bagged one goal or fewer in their remaining 11 internationals this calendar year.
Based on Egypt’s uninspiring scoring form, their torrid record of having not come back to win any game since beating Tunisia 3-2 in November 2018 is unsurprising.
Despite Salah’s intimidating presence up top, the Liverpool superstar alone is not enough to help his side overcome massive problems in front of goal.
Galal or whoever replaces him in the dugout will have to find a way to get the most out of other Egypt forwards.