Bob Bradley coached the Egyptian team for two years between November 14, 2011 until November 19, 2013. He led the team in 34 games and lost only two official matches, but they were sufficient to not reach the 2012 African Nations and the 2013 and 2014 World Cups.
The American coach held an extended conversation with the American “Sports Illustrated” website. He revealed behind the scenes, for the first time, his period with the Egyptian national team.
The 61-year-old talked about what happened between him and the national team after the historic Kumasi hexagon. He revealed the details of his first meeting with Muhammad Abu Trika, whom he chooses because of him as the best leader who coached him in his career.
Bradley also spoke about his relationship with the Egyptians that continues to date, and his first impression of Muhammad Salah, who places him higher than Djorkayev Londonon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Carlos Villa in a better order than their coach.
The parts related to the Egyptian football came in a dialogue with Bradley and journalist Grant Wahl, as follows:
Journalist: What is the best memory of winning your career?
Bradley: “I will say it was a victory over Algeria in 2010 with America. When Landon Donovan scored the goal in the deadly time, it was a mad joy to qualify for the next round with the England national team.”
Journalist: What is the worst memory for you in your career?
Bradley: “Kumasi. The loss with Egypt against Ghana 6/1. The players were under terrible pressure that I had never seen. I was looking at their eyes and I only find white, even though they were great players.”
“I have never seen a similar match other than Brazil’s 7-1 loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup.”
“I will tell you a story I have not told before after that disastrous match.”
“On the bus after the match, everyone was in a state of darkness and we did not feel what was going on around us. I knew they all now wanted to just go to the small hotel where we reside and go up to their rooms to sit alone.”
“I told them that I wanted to meet them immediately after arriving at the hotel. I gathered them and told them that I am proud of them despite everything, I told them that I know how much they love their country and that they were not in their day. We won six games in the groups, and we lost only one meeting in the playoffs is This meeting, so I wanted them to know how I felt about them. ”
“I told them that we will face Ghana again in the return leg. We have a very weak chance of returning, And that my head might be slaughtered upon my return to EgyptBut I would like to tell you that I will go crazy mad to stay with you even for one more match. ”
“In the following weeks, things were indicating my departure. But the truth is that from the first day at the time of the Port Said stadium incident, I never thought about leaving, and in the end we beat Ghana 2/1 and that was not enough.”
“After the return match, the feeling of the group was different. I knew that they and the rest of their lives would remain Egyptians, this is their country. As for me, although I consider myself lucky to work for two years in Egypt, but I will leave. If I bear responsibility for the defeat, there is no problem because I will not last long, but that group will remain in Egypt forever, and I love to keep respect for people forever. ”
“Therefore, I will keep remembering this match forever.”
Journalist: I was with you a few days before the Kumasi match in Egypt, and I glimpsed how strong and wonderful your relationship was with the Egyptian team, and the Egyptian people in general.
Bradley: “I still meet some Egyptians sometimes in Uber. They look at the mirror and say you are Bradley? I tell them yes. They say they are Egyptians – even though they don’t need that at the time because I can get to know the Egyptians from afar even if they don’t say – ?”
“They show feelings of love for me, and they say that I worked in a very difficult time for the Egyptian ball and they realize that I have done my best. They are wonderful people and love to show their feelings, so I will never forget that.”
Journalist: All right. Who are the best players you trained in your career?
Bradley: “Certainly Hristo Stoichkov. I trained the Barcelona star at the end of his career. He was strong, had a wonderful mindset and always remembered the dialogues that brought us together about his time in Barcelona and the way they played them.”
“Muhammad Salah comes second. Muhammad Salah trained when he was 19 years old. He reminded me of Stoichkov from the first moment.”
“It was very fast and he had a wonderful ability to pass and get in from the outskirts to the rear. So I talked to him about Stoichkov and showed him some of the videos of Hristo.”
“So I am very happy with every development that Salah is making, so I may choose the players as the best in their careers in my career.”
“The third player will be difficult. I trained Yuri Djorkayev, who is the only player I trained and won the World Cup. I also trained Carlos Villa, a player very similar to Stoichkov and Muhammad Salah in the league. Also there is Peter Nowak, Lupus Kubik, Landon Donovan, Clint Dembizi, And Muhammad Abu Trika. Not really sure“.
Journalist: And who is the best leader you trained in your career?
Bradley: “I just mentioned Mohamed Abu Trika at the end of the previous list, so I will now say Abu Trika.”
“At the beginning of my arrival in Egypt, they used to say that Abu Trika became big. I did not call Abu Trika in the first match and was friendly against Brazil in Qatar. Instead of going out and attacking me in the media, he went out and said that this is normal because he does not participate much with Al-Ahly, and that he will try Show his eligibility to join the national team. ”
“Then he started playing for more periods with Al-Ahly. I told myself that he is still different from all the players, but the Port Said incident happened quickly and everything stopped. I went on the day of the memorial and saw in the faces of the players what they saw inside the dressing room, where they saw the fans die before their eyes.”
“I met Abu Trika on that day and told him that I will come to visit Al-Ahly training the following week and want to meet him, and he welcomed that.”
“I went to the training and I met him and asked him to meet. What no one knows that he came to the hotel where I live, and we talked about qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. Bring me the 2014 Brazil shirt and gave it to me.”
“At the end of the interview and because he was not playing full matches yet, I told him that I don’t know if he will play full matches with me or for one game, but I need him. But he was really great. He quickly regained fitness and his level was amazing and his presence is great. So I will choose Abu Trika.”
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