Despite social and political upheaval all around him, former U.S. men’s national team coach Bob Bradley is still in Egypt. Now coach of the Egyptian national team, Bradley says he’s not going anywhere until after the 2014 World Cup, which he hopes the Pharaohs will qualify for. So far, his team is in a good position to do just that, with six points from its opening two World Cup qualifiers.
Bradley took the job as head coach of Egypt in October 2011, about nine months into a nationwide revolution that has seen massive cultural and political upheaval across the country. Just over a year ago, on Feb. 1, 2012, 70 soccer fans were killed in a massacre at Port Said following a game between local clubs Al Masry and Al Ahly. Shortly thereafter, the Egyptian league decided to shut down for a year. It was only reopened last week.
"When we came here, I certainly understood the challenge,” Bradley tells SI.com’s Grant Wahl. “I knew what we were getting into. The only thing I wasn't expecting was for the league to be shut down.” When asked why he and his family haven’t decided to leave Egypt, he says: "When you're given the opportunity to be a leader, you're trying to set the right tone, to establish a real trust with guys. We're not just in on the good days. We're in. You can't have guys who are in halfway. We're going to be brothers in this whole thing. If this is what you're trying to speak to them about on a regular basis, it doesn't work if you're on the first plane out."
As Wahl reports, there are currently two documentary film projects following Bradley and the Pharaohs in their quest to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1990.