Bradley to stay with Egypt for Ghana playoff
The Egyptian Football Association on Monday confirmed that coach Bob Bradley will stay in charge of the team for their World Cup playoff second leg vs. Ghana.
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The Egyptian FA met last week, sparking swirling rumours that the former U.S. national team coach would be asked to step aside for the Nov. 19 return leg following Egypt's 6-1 loss to Ghana in the first leg in Kumasi on Oct. 15.
According to a BBC report, the EFA would have had to pay Bradley about $366,000 if he had been released early from his contract.
Bradley said last week he was still the man to lead Egypt despite the heavy first-leg playoff defeat. Egypt would need to win the return leg on Nov. 19 in Egypt by five unanswered goals to book a World Cup ticket.
"The dream of going to the World Cup is what kept our team united but we've seen that become nearly impossible," Bradley said last week.
Bradley has spent the past two years coaching a country amid violent, political turmoil. On Feb. 1, 2012, 74 fans died after violence at a soccer match between Al-Ahly and Al-Masry.
"We have had a revolution and then a counter-revolution. We had a football stadium disaster that claimed the lives of 74 people. We had the domestic league cancelled. We had the offices of the Egyptian Football Association burnt down," Bradley told The Guardian.
"There isn't much that hasn't happened since I got here. But the dream is still alive in what is a historic time for Egypt. Football is about the only thing that unites people in Egypt right now. So for as long as we can still qualify for the World Cup in Brazil we will keep on fighting."
The hammering to Ghana was more than just a blow to Egypt's faltering hopes for a spot in next year's World Cup finals. The humiliation immediately became entangled in Egypt's bitterly divisive politics.
Supporters of Egypt's ousted Islamist president crowed that the debacle was payback for the military coup that removed Mohammed Morsi.
Egypt has been profoundly polarized by the July 3 coup. Since the ousting of Morsi -- the country's first freely elected president -- the new military-backed government has waged a fierce crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist allies.
Supporters of the military say Morsi and the Islamists tried to take over Egypt and represent a violent, radical force. Morsi supporters, in turn, accuse the military of wrecking a fledgling democracy and leading the country back into autocracy.
The entanglement of sports and politics is not uncommon in this soccer-mad nation. Egypt's losses to Algeria in qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup finals sparked a stone-throwing assault on the Algerian Embassy in Cairo and a diplomatic spat between the two countries.
The Pharaohs last reached the World Cup finals in 1990.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.