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After having scoured almost all the continents, Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz took the reins of the Egyptian selection shortly before CAN-2022, and managed to lead the Pharaohs to the final, where they will face Senegal on Sunday. Portrait of this football adventurer with a strong character, who will have to watch the match from the stands.
Arrived at the head of the Pharaohs only four months before the CAN-2022, Carlos Queiroz is Egypt’s third coach in three years. Coming to bring a little stability and above all results, the Portuguese is only one step away from succeeding in his first challenge.
Admittedly, he will not be on the bench for the African Cup final against SenegalSunday February 6, since his fiery character and his provocations since the start of the competition finally earned him a red card in the semi-finals. For exchanging words with the referee, Carlos Queiroz was sent off at the end of regulation time, having already been warned a few moments earlier. Already, in the quarter-finals against Morocco, he had had an altercation with his counterpart Vahid Halilhodzic.
The Rise of the Pharaohs
A fiery character, therefore, but above all a determination that allowed him to lead Egypt to the CAN final, while the team, despite having the most titles in the competition (7 CANs), was not necessarily one of the favorites. at the beginning. Even more after an unconvincing first round, started by a defeat against Nigeria (0-1)where the Pharaohs appeared completely out of the picture.
Minimum wins against Guinea-Bissau (1-0)then against Sudan (1-0), still allowed Egypt to qualify for the finals. And that’s where Carlos Queiroz’s players turned into fighters, successively taking out the Ivory Coastthe Morocco then the Camerooneach time at the end of extra time.
If the game is not always flamboyant, the cohesion and determination of the team, led by the star Mohammad Salah, allow him to outsmart his opponents, and wear them down. On the bench, in addition to his incessant disputes, the Portuguese plays an essential role: he harangues his troops, while constantly adjusting his tactical plan, up to three or four times in the match.
Europe, Africa, America, Asia, Middle East…
Before arriving in Egypt, Carlos Queiroz made his strong character known on almost all continents. Born in Mozambique (then Portuguese) 68 years ago, he began his coaching career with the youth teams of Portugal, hatching the golden generation and winning the U20 World Cup in 1989, with Joao Pinto, then in 1991 with Figo and Rui Costa.
But his failure to qualify the senior team for the 1994 World Cup marked the end of his adventure with the Portuguese selection. After a stint at Sporting Portugal, with whom he won the championship and the Super Cup, he began his world tour, in New York with the MetroStars, then in Nagoya, Japan, where he reached the final of the Asian Cup of cup winners.
He then took the lead in the selection of the United Arab Emirates, then played a first CAN in 2002 with South Africa. He also qualified the Bafana Bafana for the first World Cup in their history, but elimination in the quarter-finals of the African Cup against Mali (2-0) cost him his place and he did not take the team to South Korea.
“A Fantastic Guy”
He then began the experience that enriched his record, as assistant to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United (2002-2008), with a one-season interlude as number one at Real Madrid in 2003-2004, and a Spanish Super Cup at stake.
“I was looking for an assistant. I asked Luis Figo and two other players who had worked with Carlos what they thought. They told me about a fantastic guy. So I brought him to Manchester . It was one of my best decisions!” said Sir Alex. Carlos Queiroz won the 2008 Champions League with the Red Devils, led by Cristiano Ronaldo.
He finds again CR7 when he returns, in 2008, at the head of the Portuguese selection, which he leads in the round of 16 of the World Cup-2010, beaten by Spain, which will win the competition.
The Mondial-2022 in sight
The next two World Cups, Carlos Queiroz played with Iran, where he spent eight years, with 99 matches including 60 victories on the clock, leaving an indelible mark in the country. After an experience in Colombia, he finally returns to Africa in September 2021 to lead the Egyptian selection.
Even if he wins the CAN with the Pharaohs on Sunday against Senegal, he will still have another challenge to win: qualify Egypt for the 2022 World Cup. And that goes through a barrage, in March, against… Senegal!