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Africa Cup of Nations

Tinkler: How ex-Orlando Pirates coach De Sa reacted to Queiroz’s call for Egypt job

6:31 pm AEDT 2/2/22
Maritzburg, Roger De Sa
South African coaches have been deeply involved in Egyptian football at the highest level and one of them could be crowned an African champion

Former Orlando Pirates coach Eric Tinkler has explained how Roger De Sa immediately packed his bags to travel to Cairo after Carlos Queiroz gave him a call inviting him to help him coach Egypt.

Queiroz was appointed Pharaohs coach in September 2021 and roped in De Sa whom he had previously worked with in the Bafana Bafana set-up as goalkeepers and assistant coach.

With De Sa off the spotlight in South African top-flight league football, leading a project on the lower tiers in recent years, Queiroz’s call appeared to have thrust him into the spotlight again.

“It’s fantastic to see our coaches doing well,” Tinkler told Times Live.

“Roger has always been a good friend with Queiroz. Their relationship dates back to when Queiroz coached Bafana [2001/02], and Roger was a goalkeeper in the team, and then became his assistant.

“Queiroz roped Roger in [as an assistant coach] for Portugal when he led them here at the 2010 World Cup. I think Roger’s coaching style has been based on what he’s learnt from Queiroz.

“So Roger becoming Queiroz’s Egypt assistant didn’t come as a surprise to me. I was with Roger when he got the news from Queiroz, and he had to pack a bag and leave in the space of two or three days.

“So he didn’t have a lot of forewarning about the job. And I know it’s been a tough job because they got there and had qualification matches, then the Arab Cup, and then straight to the Afcon.

“There’s been a lot of pressure on them and they didn’t start very well, but slowly things started to get better. Now they’re in the semi-finals, and we know the quality that Egypt have, and we’re starting to see it again. A lot of that is to do with what Queiroz and Roger have managed to instil again.”

After De Sa was crowned an African champion with Bafana Bafana in 1996 as a reserve goalkeeper, he has a chance to claim the continental title again, but this time around as an assistant coach.

Egypt will face hosts Cameroon on Thursday. De Sa is not new in Egypt after he guided Orlando Pirates to the 2013 Caf Champions League final in which they faced Al Ahly.

Interestingly, back then Tinker was his assistant coach.

“I think people in Egypt do remember when we were successful against their teams in the Champions League,” said Tinkler.

“Roger built a reputation in Africa because of what he achieved with Pirates in 2013, similar to me reaching the 2015 and 2017 Confederation Cup finals with Pirates and SuperSport United.

“SA coaches doing well on the continent is the reason Pitso has got the job he has now with Ahly — because of what he did with Sundowns in the Champions League.

“I think that’s opened the door for people to look at SA coaches.”