Egypt’s American manager Bob Bradley, seen here in May, coached the U.S. national team from 2006-2011. He was appointed manager of the Egyptian national team in September 2011 after being fired by the U.S. in July. / By Hussein Malla, AP
BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — Seven-time continental champion Egypt failed to qualify for its second successive African Cup after a 1-1 draw in Central African Republic on Saturday ensured the team missed out 4-3 on aggregate.
Following a shock 3-2 win in Egypt, minnow Central African Republic scored first in Bangui through Foxi Kethevoama’s 23rd-minute header and held on for a 1-1 draw in the second leg to move one tie away from reaching a major tournament for the first time.
Emad Meteb equalized in the 72nd from close range for the Egyptians, and chances were squandered.
Fans poured onto the pitch at the final whistle to celebrate the Central Africans’ progression to the final round of qualifying for next year’s 16-team tournament in South Africa.
Elimination was a bitter blow to former U.S. coach Bob Bradley, who was hired after Egypt surprisingly failed to make this year’s finals following three successive titles from 2006-10. Before Saturday’s setback, Bradley had made good progress following the team’s struggles last year amid the violent uprising that removed Hosni Mubarak from power.
The Egyptians created a host of goalscoring opportunities on an uneven pitch against the Central Africans but crucially couldn’t capitalize.
“I think our ideas in attack were good,” Bradley said. “Obviously the execution of certain opportunities … wasn’t everything it needed to be. We only scored one goal when we needed to score three.”
The home team was more dangerous early on and Kethevoama’s downward header trickled past goalkeeper Essam El-Hadry for the lead.
Meteb hit a 40th-minute volley straight at Central African Republic’s ‘keeper and Mohamed Aboutrika’s header in the 53rd bounced over the bar. Aboutrika was then denied by the home goalie in the 67th as Egypt’s frustration grew.
Meteb was on target with a little under 20 minutes to go and Egypt poured forward but couldn’t break through again.
Central African Republic is the last team to progress to a final round of qualifying in September and October, when 30 teams will play for 15 places at next year’s African Cup alongside the host.