Javier Aguirre calls for Egypt to go up a level after Mohamed Salah super show

It was a winning start for new Egypt boss Javier Aguirre. (AFP)
Updated 10 September 2018
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Javier Aguirre calls for Egypt to go up a level after Mohamed Salah super show

  • The Pharaohs excel on new coach's debut in Alexandria.
  • Salah scores two and sets up two to take international goal tally to 39.

LONODN: Egypt coach Javier Aguirre hailed his side after a 6-0 thrashing of Niger got qualification for next year’s African Cup of Nations back on track, but the new boss warned Mohamed Salah and Co. that he expects better in future matches.
Salah put his uneasy relationship with the Egyptian Football Association to one side as he scored two, made two and missed two penalties in Alexandria as the Pharaohs moved on from their sorry showing at this summer’s World Cup.
The result was even more important after they had lost the opening game in Group J of qualification against Tunisia last year, but Aguirre, the former coach of Mexico, Japan and Atletico Madrid, was not completely satisfied.
“The players did not carry out all the instructions given,” Aguirre, appointed in August to succeed Hector Cuper who presided over the dismal World Cup campaign, said after the game.
“I am satisfied with the training camp that we had and this was a factor in what was a big win but we should not get carried away as we may not be able to beat other opponents with such a big scoreline.”
There was much to appreciate however as the 59 year-old Mexican pointed out.
“The players combined well because they have a good relationship with each other. We’ve only been training for four days, we’ll be better after four years,” he added.
Despite Salah’s fine performance, when the Liverpool star became the third-highest goalscorer for Egypt with 39 goals to his name, Aguirre pinpointed Aly Ghazal, the Canada-based defender earning a recall to the national team for the first time in four years, as the star of the six-goal show. Ghazal marshaled the backline in impressive fashion with Baher El-Mohamadi and Salah Mohsen enjoying fine debuts.
“Ghazal was the best player and was impressive but overall, it is a good start but we still have a lot of work to do,”Aguirre said.
The one piece of bad news for the hosts was that of West Bromwich Albion defender Ahmed Hegazi will miss the next qualifier against Swaziland in October through suspension.
Overall however, fans were delighted with the big win. Cuper was criticized for overly-defensive tactics during his time in the Egypt hotseat and Aguirre was appointed partly because of his reputation for more progressive, attacking football. Egypt were a relentless attacking force throughout the match and would not have been flattered with a much more convincing scoreline.
Niger coach Francois Zahoui explained that a combination of individual mistakes and the skills of Salah put the game beyond his team.
“We made too many errors in the opening period and we were then always chasing the game,” Zahoui, who admitted that he had voted for the Liverpool striker to win Best FIFA Men’s Player Award, said. “He was a real danger tonight and he never gave our defenders a second to settle.”
Elsewhere, Morocco also bounced back from an early exit from the World Cup and an opening defeat in African qualification to beat Malawi 3-0 in Casablanca to move into second in Group B behind Cameroon.
Hakim Ziyach opened the scoring after just three minutes and Youssef En-Nesyri grabbed the other two.
“We need to keep getting good results,” Morocco coach Herve Renard said. “Consistency is the most important aspect. We have a good team and a strong foundation and we just need to incorporate a few younger players over time. We have been moving forward over the past two and a half years and need to continue in the same direction.”
Algeria stayed on top of Group D despite being held to a 1-1 draw in Gambia. Baghdad Bounedjah gave the Fennecs the lead just after the break only for Assan Ceesay to level the game within two minutes to earn a point for Gambia.


Saudia partners with ABB FIA Formula E Championship ahead of Ad Diriyah race

Updated 42 min 13 sec ago
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Saudia partners with ABB FIA Formula E Championship ahead of Ad Diriyah race

AD DIRIYAH, Saudi Arabia: The ABB FIA Formula E Championship on Tuesday announced a new long-term partnership with Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) - the national flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - as official airline partner of the all-electric series and race title partner of the inaugural Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix.

Coinciding with the introduction of a new visa process for fan travel to Saudi Arabia, Saudia has come on board ahead of season five and the debut of Formula E in the Middle East on December 15. The announcement was made at a special event hosted at Governorate Ad Diriyah, following a roadshow through the Saudi Arabian capital with the striking new-look Gen2 car.

Felipe Massa – Venturi Formula E Team driver – got behind the wheel of the official championship car for the very first time, adorned with new Saudia branding on the rear-wing spoilers and on top of the nose cone.

In preparation for the highly-anticipated new era of electric racing and the opening round in Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia is to open to the world like never before as it launches a dedicated online visa process for international tourists.

Fans will be able to apply via the newly-created ‘Sharek’ platform, using an authorized ticket to permit entry to Saudi Arabia. The system will be implemented for the first time as the country gears up for the spectacle of Formula E - marking the introduction of easy application and verification for foreign travelers.

Alejandro Agag, Founder & CEO of Formula E, said: “It’s fantastic news that Saudia is joining the ABB FIA Formula E Championship as official airline partner – ahead of the first race in Saudi Arabia and the debut of fully-electric racing in the Middle East. The partnership continues to show the appeal of Formula E on a global scale and I’m proud to welcome Saudia to the Formula E family as the excitement continues to build for the opening round of season five on December 15. When you consider Saudi Arabia is opening-up to international sports fans for the first time and we have a new partner who can connect those fans to our series, it really is a strong additional to the championship.”

Saudi Arabian Airlines Director General, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, commented: “Saudia is pleased to be supporting the ABB FIA Formula E Championship for the upcoming event in Ad Diriyah – a first for Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. The airline welcomes fans from around the world to the opening race at the historic Ad Diriyah site and to come aboard with SAUDIA as we get set to wish the teams all the very best for the race and a new era of electric street racing, starting with the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix.”

Beyond hosting the first fully-electric race in the region and staging it in a stunning UNESCO heritage site, hosts of the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix, the General Sports Authority and Saudi Arabian Motor Federation have confirmed ambitious plans for the opening race of season 5 and the Kingdom’s debut in the championship schedule.

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, Vice-Chair of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority added: “We really want to celebrate this moment with the people of Saudia Arabia, all those passionate fans and families who want to experience a live E-Prix for the first time. But with the introduction of a new visa process, now we can celebrate it with the world. It’s an opportunity we plan to grasp with both hands with the addition of soon to be announced spectacular line-up of live music, culture and entertainment featuring global stars as part of an unmissable three-day festival.”

The 2018/19 season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship sparks into life in Ad Diriyah on December 15.