254d84b241158210VgnVCM100000e56411acRCRDapproved/thenational/Articles/Migration/2010-02'The General' would love to lead the UAE154d84b241158210VgnVCM100000e56411ac____'The General' would love to lead the UAEShehata is honoured at a ceremony hosted by the Al Ain football club while the Egyptian coach fondly recalls his auspicious connection with the country.<p>Hassan Shehata, Egypt's three-time African Cup of Nations-winning coach, revealed he would welcome the challenge of coaching the UAE national team.
Shehata, 60, guided Egypt to their third consecutive African Cup of Nations victory in Angola last month and was honoured by the Pro League club Al Ain on Sunday night for his achievements.</p>
<p>"The General", as he is affectionately referred to by fans of the Pharaohs, is a frequent visitor to the Emirates and has camped here with the Egyptian national team before the last two of their African cup successes.
He considers the country a lucky charm and said he would relish the chance to return and lead the national side in the future.
"I hope to train the UAE team one day," said Shehata. "It's a big team in Asia with very promising young players. I'm not trying to flatter, but we believe the UAE have been auspicious for us.</p>
<p>"Every time we camp here before a tournament we win. It happened when we were here back in 2008 and went on to win the African Cup of Nations in Ghana. The same thing has happened again this time. We camped here and won the title in Angola. We even won the friendly match we played out here in Dubai [in January] against Mali.
"I have to say the UAE is a very hospitable and generous country to host the Egyptian national team before taking part in the African Cup."</p>
<p>Any plans Shehata may have of coaching the UAE may have to wait, it seems, as he has committed himself to the Egyptian post until the World Cup in 2014.
The Pharaohs have not qualified for the finals of football's biggest tournament since 1990 - also the last time the UAE graced the competition in Italy - and they missed out this time around after losing a decisive play-off against Algeria 1-0 in November.</p>
<p>That loss still rankles Shehata, but the 4-0 win over Algeria in Angola last month and a hat-trick of African titles is a consolation.
"Qualifying for the World Cup was very important for me and I believe we should have made it," he said. "There is no doubt that we were frustrated after the match against Algeria in Sudan as it was the dream of the nation to qualify for the World Cup.
"However, I must say this tournament in Angola has somehow compensated for it, along with the 4-0 win over Algeria.</p>
<p>"Winning the African Cup of Nations three consecutive times is a phenomenal achievement.
"Still, I would rather qualify for the World Cup. It is a completely different; it makes you feel very special and respected."
Shehata could still go to South Africa later this year as he is on a shortlist by the Nigerian Football Association to guide the Super Eagles following the sacking of Shaibu Amodu.
The shortlist includes Guus Hiddink, the coach of Russia, his fellow Dutchman and Bayern Munich manager Louis van Gaal, and Bruno Metsu, the national team coach of Qatar.</p>
<p>Shehata said he was flattered by the interest, but having inked a new deal to remain up until the summer of 2014, he feels the decision lies with his employers.
"As an Egyptian, I am honoured to be considered for leading Nigeria at the World Cup," he said.
Training a big team like Nigeria or Cameroon would help in putting the Arab coach in general and the Egyptian coach in specific, in a very good position.</p>
<p>"To me, it's somehow saddening and pleasing at the same time. Pleasing that my country is holding on to me and saddening because I might or might not succeed in leading the team to the  World Cup.
"Still I feel privileged that my country and the football association are holding on to me."
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