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As an aficionado of the African game, you must forgive me for this moment of indulgence. However, while Egypt may seem slightly out of place among the other exalted names on this list, their achievements in the second half of the last decade were truly remarkable.
In three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments (2006, 2008 and 2010), the Pharaohs emerged as champions. It is an achievement unparalleled in the history of the African game and one that is unlikely to be repeated any time soon.
Wisely and intelligently using a crop of gifted, but not exceptional players, Hassan Shehata built the greatest footballing dynasty African soccer has ever known.
The experienced coach made the most of the excellent and domestically dominant Al Ahly team and used some key individuals—namely Ahmed Hassan, Hossam Hassan, Wael Gomaa, Essam El-Hadary and, of course, Mohamed Aboutrika—as his core around which to build serial African champions.
That their era overlapped with the recent superstars of the Cote d’Ivoire, Africa’s fabled Golden Generation, only makes their achievements all the more remarkable. Drogba, the Toures, Kalou, Zokora, Eboue…some of Africa’s biggest names remain unfulfilled in the continental arena due, in no small part, to the Pharaohs’ dynasty.
Their failure to qualify for either the 2006 or the 2010 World Cup, however, has hugely affected their global reputation.