El Hadary talks about Al-Ahly, José and the national team

In an exclusive interview with "Al Ain" website, Issam El Hadary talked about his ambitions with the Egyptian national team, his experience with Al Ahly and his conflicts with his former coach Manuel José.

El Hadary is the oldest goalkeeper in the world : He will be 44 years old next June but he will always be remembered as one of the best goalkeepers in Egypt.

The interview started with some questions regarding Egypt's last game against Ghana. Then, El Hadary talked about Al-Ahly, his relationship with Manuel José and his retirement :

Why did you cry after the game? 

I went through a big pressure. It was one of the hardest games in my whole career. I knew that it will be the reason behind our qualification to the World Cup. That's why I was extremely happy.

What do you think of Hector Cuper? 

He's a genius and he has a unique style. He was a defender so he has a tendency to strengthen the defensive line. He's doing a great job and we should really respect his job with the national team.

Everyone's asking you to qualify to the World Cup. What do you think of that ?

All the Egyptians want to reach that objective. It's a nation's dream. It's a big responsibility but I believe that we'll be able to make this dream come true.

When will you announce your retirement ?

After the World Cup for sure!

What's the real reason behind your departure from Al Ahly ?

Manuel José was only looking for his own good. He's the reason behind my departure after humiliating me and robbing me of the captain's armband.

What's the reason behind this big hatred between you and Manuel José?

I don't want to talk about him because this will make him important. I don't know why he keeps on attacking me. I think that he came to Egypt to make fun of us. He came for money and returned to Al Ahly's academy for the same reason.

Do you still want to play in Al Ahly?

Of course, that's a big gift. I didn't lose faith. If they'll call me, I'll immediately go there because it's my duty!

Who's the best player you've played with ? 

Aboutrika. He's a great person that will not be repeated.

Will you become a coach after your retirement ? 

No, I'd rather go to management. I'm really tired of football.

 

L1 : Les déclas qui claquent après les matchs de vendredi soir

Retrouvez les principales réactions des entraîneurs de Ligue 1 après la 38eme et dernière journée de championnat vendredi soir.

Christophe Pélissier (Amiens)


On est habitué à jouer des derniers matchs à enjeu. Il a fallu attendre ce dernier match et on a fait durer le suspense alors qu’on pouvait se mettre à l’abri. On va retenir la victoire et je suis très heureux de maintenir Amiens une troisième saison en Ligue 1. On a un public exceptionnel qui nous a aidés quand les joueurs étaient cuits. Ca nous a donné un supplément d’âme.

Jocelyn Gourvennec (Guingamp)


C’était une fin de saison difficile. On avait réussi à sortie la tête de l’eau avant la finale de la Coupe de la Ligue fin mars, on était barragiste. On a dominé la finale et on méritait de la gagner. Ça a été le tournant de la saison, ça a mis un coup aux joueurs. On a longtemps espéré, on a entretenu cet espoir alors qu’on est parti de très, très loin.

Stéphane Moulin (Angers)


Encore une fois, on a montré qu'on était capables de rivaliser avec une belle équipe. On aurait voulu une victoire, ce match nul s'apparente à ça. On a donné le change, c'est bien. Ça doit nous pousser à croire encore plus à notre potentiel, avec toujours autant d'humilité et d'envie, mais toujours autant d'ambition, ce n'est pas incompatible

Jean-Louis Gasset (Saint-Etienne)


Oui, je réalise que c'est fini. Depuis samedi soir, on a eu le temps de fêter ça et de s'y préparer. On a beaucoup fêté la qualification européenne, je ne savais pas si on allait tenir 90 minutes. On a bien joué, dans un bon état d'esprit. Faire match nul à l'extérieur, ça reste un bon résultat. Beaucoup de choses nous passent dans la tête quand c'est comme ça

Fabien Mercadal (Caen)


Je leur souhaite de tout cœur que le futur soit meilleur. Il y a beaucoup de tristesse pour le club. On avait réussi à recoller, souvent à l'arrache, ça se joue à un but finalement. Cela a été une saison très éprouvante pour tout le monde, il nous a manqué un peu de force, il y avait beaucoup de fatigue nerveuse. On a manqué de fraîcheur et de lucidité. On va assumer nos responsabilités, on n'est pas là pour se cacher. Cette relégation fait terriblement mal. Le club a déjà connu et s'est déjà relevé.

Antoine Kombouaré (Dijon)


Je ne parlerais pas de miracle, c’est passé par la petite porte. On a fait le match que l’on attendait, il fallait gagner. On a été mené au score, je félicite et remercie les joueurs. On a vécu des émotions très fortes. Ça s’est tendu un peu par moment, on n’a pas été bon dans la construction du jeu. Il fallait espérer un signe du destin et espérer un signe du destin. Pour les grincheux, comme Rolland Courbis, on a montré que l’on jouait vraiment.

Michel Der Zakarian (Montpellier)


On est déçus d'avoir perdu, il y avait la place de mieux faire, on est naïfs et inattentifs sur le but qu'on prend. Notre saison a été bonne : au début, on aurait été très heureux de terminer à cette place-là mais je pense qu'on aurait pu faire mieux. Dans les Coupes, on n'a pas existé.

Vahid Halilhodzic (Nantes)


J'ai des responsabilités, encore un an de contrat. Mes mots sont souvent interprétés, je dirai simplement que nous rentrons dans une période de grand chantier avec une dizaine de joueurs qui vont partir, d'autres qui vont arriver, un groupe à reconstruire. Ce mercato est un moment délicat. Il va falloir qu'on réussisse à travailler, beaucoup et intelligemment pour avoir davantage d'ambitions.

Patrick Vieira (Nice)


De cette saison, je retiens la solidarité du club. On a fait front à toutes les difficultés. Le staff, Fred Gioria et Lionel Letizi, a été important. On apprend beaucoup plus de ce genre de saison. Il a manqué un buteur pour finir plus haut. Mais personne ne s'est plaint. Les joueurs ont bien travaillé. Je pense avoir réussi à tirer énormément des joueurs. Sur les sacrifices, le travail, je ne pouvais pas leur demander plus.

Leonardo Jardim (Monaco)


Je suis très soulagé et très content. En janvier, je suis revenu sur le côté émotionnel, parce que j'aime ce club, j'habite à Monaco et parce que le président m'a appelé directement. Je suis content d'avoir atteint notre objectif malgré la défaite. Monaco reste en L 1.

Bernard Blaquart (Nîmes)


On perd mais cela a été une saison inattendue et magnifique au regard de nos petits moyens. On a découvert la Ligue 1. On a progressé. On a appris, croqué tout cela à pleines dents toute la saison. Chapeau ! On aimerait voir grandir le club encore plus vite.

Bruno Genesio (Lyon)


C'est le succès d'un groupe de qualité, même si l'on a mal géré des situations de contre. Ce match est un peu à l'image de notre saison. C'est même le résumé parfait de notre saison, avec une bonne entame avant de connaître une période plus difficile jusqu'à la pause et finalement de l'emporter sur la fin.

David Guion (Reims)


J'avais demandé à mes joueurs de faire preuve d'audace, ils l'ont fait en première mi-temps. On a ensuite énormément subi en seconde période, mais on a eu les ressources pour s'imposer. C'est une victoire remplie d'émotion car c'est la dernière de l'année, face au champion en titre. C'est aussi une saison magnifique, totalement réussie.

Thomas Tuchel (PSG)


On doit se concentrer, être ensemble, club, staff, équipe. Etre strict et retrouver notre esprit, notre manière de travailler du début de saison. On doit être strict et conséquent dans les décisions, tous ensemble. Le recrutement de joueurs est essentiel également.

Julien Stéphan (Rennes)


C’était un bon match pour une dernière, face à une très belle équipe lilloise qui attaque beaucoup. C’était un match où il y a eu beaucoup d’occasions de but, avec du jeu, de l’allant, de l’enthousiasme, un match très agréable, qu’on a remporté de manière logique. C’est une grande saison pour le Stade Rennais, qui va marquer l’histoire du club. Il y a beaucoup de satisfactions à en retirer.

Christophe Galtier (Lille)


Je vais retenir l’aventure humaine qu’a été cette saison. Il y a eu beaucoup de relations fortes, semaines après semaines. Tous ont fait un travail extraordinaire. Ceux qui n’ont pas beaucoup joué ont fait grandir le 11 de départ. J’ai applaudi mes joueurs et je leur ai dit que j’étais fier d’eux.

Thierry Laurey (Strasbourg)


Sur les deux derniers matches, on a eu pléthore d'occasions et on a perdu à chaque fois. Ce soir, avec deux occasions et demi, on arrive à l'emporter. C'est le charme du football. On a plus subi que crée du jeu même si on a initié de bons mouvements. On n'avait pas suffisamment de verticalité en première mi-temps. Au niveau des chiffres, c'est ma meilleure saison. Si on peut continuer à progresser et moi avec, c'est tout bénéfice pour le Club. On visait la 12eme place, on est 11eme. On visait 45 points, on est à 49... On va dire que les objectifs sont atteints cette saison. J'espère que tout le monde reviendra avec un large sourire, un teint hâlé et beaucoup de motivation.

FIFA maintains 32 teams for 2022 World Cup in Qatar

FIFA said it had abandoned the expansion plans « following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process » which led to the conclusion that « under the current circumstances such a proposal could not

The world’s football governing body, FIFA took a decision to maintain 32 teams at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, rejecting president Gianni Infantino’s proposal to expand the tournament to feature 48 teams.

FIFA said it had abandoned the expansion plans “following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process” which led to the conclusion that “under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now”.

“(The tournament) will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June,” FIFA said in a statement.

Why Gianni wanted 48 teams

The expansion was a pet project of Infantino, who pushed the idea despite the likely need for Qatar’s neighbours to put aside a two-year blockade and help to host an expanded tournament.

“The involvement of these countries in the organisation of the tournament jointly with Qatar implies the lifting of this blockade, in particular the lifting of restrictions on the movement of people and goods,” said a feasibility study submitted to March’s FIFA Congress in Miami.

The study, seen by AFP, also claimed that a Qatar World Cup with 48 teams would generate “between $300-$400 million (265-354 million euros) of additional income”.

Specifically FIFA was counting on an additional $120 million in TV rights, $150 million in marketing rights and $90 million from ticket sales.

An announcement of the final decision had not been expected until next month’s FIFA Congress to be held in Paris ahead of the women’s World Cup that takes place in France between June 7 and July 7.

Obstacles to expansion

The news comes after Europe’s top football clubs said in March they would boycott an expanded 24-team Club World Cup — also backed by Infantino — which is planned to take place in June and July 2021, replacing the Confederations Cup tournament.

Expanding the competition for the 2022 tournament was always a complicated proposition. FIFA had sounded out potential co-hosts in the region willing to support Qatar, which is subject to an ongoing embargo by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee, charged with the organisation of the tournament, said in reaction to FIFA’s decision that “Qatar had always been open to the idea of an expanded tournament in 2022 had a viable operating model been found and had all parties concluded that an expanded 48-team edition was in the best interest of football and Qatar as the host nation.”

But it said there was insufficient time to make a deeper assessment before the June deadline and “it was therefore decided not to further pursue this option.”

“With just three and a half years to go until kick off, Qatar remains as committed as ever to ensuring the 32-team FIFA World Cup in 2022 is one of the best tournaments ever and one that makes the entire Arab world proud,” the Supreme Committee said.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut all ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing Doha of supporting Iran and Islamist groups.

Qatar vehemently denies the charges and says Saudi Arabia and its allies are aiming to incite government change in the emirate, the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas.

Gulf states Kuwait and Oman have not taken sides in the crisis. However, Oman said in April it was “not ready” to host matches.

AFP

South Africa appoints first ever female national rugby coach

The union announced two other former female internationals in team management roles with ex-captain Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe to be Springbok women’s team manager and Natasha Hofmeester the Under-20 women

South Africa’s Rugby authorities on Tuesday appointed the first ever female coach of a national team, announcing that Laurian Johannes will take charge of the country’s Under-20 women’s side.

She will begin next month with two internationals against neighbouring Zimbabwe in Harare.

“This is a massive achievement for Laurian and for South African rugby, and we wish her luck in this significant role,” said SA Rugby chief executive officer Jurie Roux.

“The fact that Laurian played for the Springbok women’s team and participated in the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup before learning the ropes of coaching at Western Province makes this achievement even more meaningful.

“She has come through the ranks, and I hope she will inspire other former female players to enter into coaching and follow their dreams.”

The union announced two other former female internationals in team management roles with ex-captain Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe to be Springbok women’s team manager and Natasha Hofmeester the Under-20 women’s team manager.

Agencies

Ghana's president convinces Gyan to cancel retirement

Asamoah Gyan has not featured for the side since September 2017 after persistent injury problems and has also battled for game-time with his Turkish club Kayserispor.

Gyan back from retirement

Just 48 hours after announcing his international retirement, Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan has bowed to a presidential request to make himself available for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations

‘‘I have taken the request of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in good faith, and will make myself available for selection by coach Kwasi Appiah to help win the AFCON trophy,’‘ Gyan tweeted.

Government spokesperson Eugene Arhin in a statement confirmed the president’s intervention.

“The President urged him, in the national interest, to rescind his decision to retire from the Black Stars, and make himself available for selection by coach Kwesi Appiah.”

Fans applaud Gyan’s national record

Football fans across the world are paying tribute to Ghana’s all-time leading goal-scorer Asamoah Gyan who announced his international retirement on Monday.

The news which comes a month before the start of the African Nations Cup, follows shortly after he was removed as the national team’s captain.

Striker Gyan has not featured for the side since September 2017 after persistent injury problems and has also battled for game-time with his Turkish club Kayserispor.

“Upon consultation with my family and team, and as an active footballer and captain of the national team, if the decision of the coach is to give captaincy of the tournament to another player while I am named in the team (squad) of the tournament, I wish to recuse myself from the tournament,” Gyan said in a statement.

“I also wish to retire from the national team permanently,” he said.

The 33-year-old netted 51 goals in 106 international appearances, both Ghana national team records, which includes scoring at six consecutive Nations Cup finals, as well as three World Cups between 2006 and 2014.

Social media reactions

Fans applaud Ghana's Asamoah Gyan following international retirement

Asamoah Gyan has not featured for the side since September 2017 after persistent injury problems and has also battled for game-time with his Turkish club Kayserispor.

Football fans across the world are paying tribute to Ghana’s all-time leading goal-scorer Asamoah Gyan who announced his international retirement on Monday.

The news which comes a month before the start of the African Nations Cup, follows shortly after he was removed as the national team’s captain.

Striker Gyan has not featured for the side since September 2017 after persistent injury problems and has also battled for game-time with his Turkish club Kayserispor.

“Upon consultation with my family and team, and as an active footballer and captain of the national team, if the decision of the coach is to give captaincy of the tournament to another player while I am named in the team (squad) of the tournament, I wish to recuse myself from the tournament,” Gyan said in a statement.

“I also wish to retire from the national team permanently,” he said.

The 33-year-old netted 51 goals in 106 international appearances, both Ghana national team records, which includes scoring at six consecutive Nations Cup finals, as well as three World Cups between 2006 and 2014.

Social media reactions