INSIDE AFCON 2019: Heads Roll Following Shocking Ouster of Hosts

CAIRO – Heads have already started rolling in Egyptian football with the sacking of coach Javier Aguirre and the resignation of Egypt FA head Hany Abou-Rida following the shock ouster of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations hosts at the hands of South Africa.

The Pharaohs were dumped out of the tournament in the Round of 16 courtesy of a lone Thembi Nkosi Lorch goal at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday, bringing hopes of a record-extending eighth AFCON title for the hosts to a bitterly disappointing end.

There were always going to be consequences for Egypt’s premature ouster at the hands of opponents who only qualified for the knockout stages as one of four best third-placed team, however, the repercussions when it came, was as dramatic as events in the stadium.

A few hours after Egypt’s ouster, the EFA announced in a tweet via their official handle that its’s president, Abou-Rida who had been a part of the federation since 1991 had handed in his resignation with immediate effect shortly after sacking Mexican coach Javier Aguirre and all his backroom staff following Egypt’s disastrous ouster from the competition.

In resigning from the presidency of the EFA, Abou-Rida who also sits on the Executive Committees of CAF and FIFA also urged other members of the federation to follow his lead and hand in their resignations.

The Twitter statement in Arabic which announced Abou-Rida’s resignation, however, said the now ex-EFA head will continue to chair the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the AFCON until the head of the tournament.

Abou-Rida, a former footballer and prominent businessman has been a firmament in Egyptian football for several decades and served in several capacities in the EFA before winning elections to become President of the EFA in 2016.

As president of the EFA, he came to the aid of CAF by accepting to host the 2019 AFCON at short notice following the stripping of Cameroon of hosting rights.

He also appointed former Atletico Madrid and Mexico national team coach Javier Aguirre to take charge of The Pharaohs in August of 2018 and while the Mexican won well over seventy percent of matches during his short spell as manager, failure to win the one that really mattered proved to be his undoing.