(L-R) Egypt’s Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, Tarek Hamed, Essam El-Hadary, Mohamed Salah, Saleh Gomaa, Ahmed Fathy, Mohamed Elneny, Hassan Ahmed, Ramadan Sobhi, Ahmed Hegazi, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy pose for a team picture during their World Cup 2018 Africa qualifying match between Egypt and Congo at the Borg el-Arab stadium in Alexandria on October 8, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Mohamed El-Shahed
Egypt’s national team kicked off yesterday their preparations for the away game against Ghana, which is the last round of the African qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.
The Pharaohs, who have already clinched the qualifying ticket in Group E, will be hosted by the Black stars in Cape Coast on November 12.“16 players were available in the national team’s first training session amid preparations for Ghana match,” the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) revealed in a statement on social media.
“Etoile du Sahel’s striker, Amr Marei was rested from yesterday’s training, but he will be available today with Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny, Braga’s striker Ahmed Hassan “Kouka” and Lens’ defender Karim Hafiz.”
“Ahly’s international players (who lost the Champions League final against Wydad Casablanca on Saturday in Morocco) will join their teammates on today,” the statement added.
On October 23, Egypt’s coach Hector Cuper called up 16 foreign-based players for the Ghana game, before adding nine local-based players from Ahly and Zamalek for the squad on Wednesday.
Liverpool’s in-form winger Mohamed Salah is the prominent absentee in Egypt’s current camp after being rested by Cuper, while Al-Raed’s winger Mahmoud “Shikabala” Abdel-Razek has been called up for international duty for the first time in three years.Shikabala could be Salah’s replacement against Ghana after his recent outstanding performances in the Saudi league.
Egypt ended a 27-year World Cup drought after defeating Congo 2-1 earlier this month to book their ticket for next year’s World Cup in Russia.Seven-time African champions, Egypt have only made two World Cup appearances, both in Italy, in 1934 and 1990.