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AFCON 2023: Jose Mourinho Reportedly Surprised by Record Champions Egypt’s Premature Elimination
- Jose Mourinho was reportedly surprised by record AFCON champions, Egypt
- The Pharaohs exited the AFCON 2023 tournament prematurely in the last 16
- The former Real Madrid coach also praised the referees and their use of VAR
Former Manchester United and Real Madrid manager, Jose Mourinho, was reportedly astonished at Egypt's premature elimination from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
The record seven-time African champions were eliminated after losing to the Democratic Republic of Congo on penalties in the last 16.
As stated by his ex-assistant, Ricardo Formosinho, the ex-Roma manager was left bewildered by the Pharaos' early departure from the tournament in Abidjan.
Formosinho shared Mourinho's sentiments, expressing disbelief at the talented Egyptian squad's unexpected downfall in the Round of 16 under now-sacked head coach, Rui Vitoria, succumbing in a penalty shootout to their opponents.
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"Mourinho closely follows global football, including Egypt, and he has expressed admiration for certain players from the region," Formosinho said during an interview with Al Hayah TV channel, as reported by Kingfut.
Discussing Egypt's managerial changes, he acknowledged Vitoria's coaching prowess but noted the unpredictable nature of football. He also remained uncertain about the potential impact of Egypt's new coach, Hossam Hassan.
The Pharaohs will resume their campaign in March with a crucial 2026 World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso.
Mourinho lauds VAR in AFCON 2023
In a separate observation, Mourinho reportedly commended the transparent and effective utilisation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology throughout the AFCON tournament.
Unlike in European football, where controversies often arise regarding decisions, he lauded the impartial application of VAR in the African competition, ensuring fairness for all teams.
Reflecting on the referees' professional handling of player protests, Mourinho contrasted the European approach, where such appeals often lead to disciplinary actions, with the receptive and respectful manner of officials in AFCON.
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"This is why you saw the best out of every team, because they know VAR is not hired behind the scenes, but is for everyone," said Mourinho, as quoted by the News Chronicle.
As the tournament concluded in Abidjan, he stressed that lessons needed to be learned from African football's approach to VAR, advocating for a similar fair and transparent implementation in other footballing regions.
Ivory Coast coach Fae rejects Mourinho comparison
Sports Brief previously reported when Emerse Fae addressed the 'Special One' tag given to him for helping turn the fortunes of the Elephants around at AFCON 2023.
Then assistant coach to Jean Louis-Gasset, he took over shortly after the hosts suffered their worst-ever defeat on home soil, a 4-0 humbling vs. Equatorial Guinea.