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Claros confirms Egypt exit
HALIFAX (AfroBasket) - Spanish coach Pep Claros has revealed he will not lead Egypt at the AfroBasket this summer, confirming reports in Cairo that the Pharoahs are looking for a replacement.
Egypt had handed the reins to the Barcelona native, who was once at the helm of the El Salvador and Mexico national teams, at the end of 2014 and agreed he could travel to the country to start working with the program after the Canadian domestic season.
In Canada, Claros has guided the Halifax Rainmen to the conference championship and into the play-off semi-finals.
The 46-year-old Claros says the Egyptians changed their minds on his arrival date.
"The Egyptian Basketball Federation wanted me to come now and I'm with Halifax Rainmen in the semifinals in Canada after winning the conference championship and we're leading 3-1," he said.
"I still need one more win to advance to the final.
"They had agreed I could go there with my Portuguese assistant coach on the 25th of April, but they want me now and it is impossible to leave my team."
Claros, who has coached in Europe and in North, Central and South America, is disappointed he will not add African experience to his impressive CV, yet he is not bitter.
"I just can say thanks to my Egyptian staff for the work and dedication during these past months when we were planning and preparing and they were even traveling to Canada to get ready for the future and create a "B" national team with new talents," Claros said.
I wish them all the best for the next AfroBasket and African games with the goal to qualify for the Olympics in Rio 2016 - Claros
Egypt should be a contender for a spot on the podium at the AfroBasket, something they assured themselves of when upsetting Senegal in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, in 2013.
If Egypt can win this year's African title, they will qualify for the Brazil Olympics.
They can also clinch a spot in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament with a second- or third-place finish in Tunisia.