Egypt coach Hector Cuper has called up nine local-based players on Wednesday for an anticipated away game against Ghana on 12 November in the last round of the African qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, deciding to give previously called Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah a break from playing.
“Cuper decided to call nine local-based players for Ghana match (six from Ahly and the remaining three from Zamalek),” national team supervisor Ehab Leheta announced in an official statement.
Egypt, who have already clinched the qualifying ticket in Group E, will hold a training camp in the UAE starting 6 November, three days before the Ghana game in Cape Coast.
The Pharaohs were supposed to play a friendly match with the Emirati team on 9 November, but the game was cancelled.
A week ago, Cuper called up 16 foreign-based players including Salah for the Ghana game, but the Argentinean tactician suddenly decided to omit Salah to avoid fatigue, as he plays continuously with his club in the English Premier League.
On Tuesday, Al-Raed winger Mahmoud “Shikabala” Abdel-Razek was called up for Egypt’s squad for the first time in three years. He could be a replacement for Salah 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.
Egypt’s 25-man squad for Ghana match:
Goalkeepers: Essam El-Hadary (Taawoun, Saudi), Ahmed El-Shennawi (Zamalek), Sherif Ekramy (Ahly)
Defenders: Omar Gaber (Basel, Switzerland) Ahmed Fathi, Saad Samir, Ramy Rabia (Ahly), Ali Gabr (Zamalek), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa, England), Mohamed Abdel-Shafi (Ahly Jeddah, KSA), Ahmed Hegazy (West Bromwich, England), Karim Hafiz (Lens, France)
Midfielders: Moemen Zakareya , Abdallah El-Said (Ahly), Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal, England), Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan (Kasimpasa, Turkey), Sam Morsi (Wigan, England), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City, England), Mahmoud “Shikabala” Abdel-Razek (Al-Raed, Saudi Arabia).
Forwards: Ahmed Hassan “Kouka” (Braga, Portugal), Mahmoud Kahraba (Ittihad Jeddah, KSA), Amr Gamal (Bidvest Wits, South Africa), Amr Warda (CD Feirense, Portugal), Amr Marei (Etoile du Sahel, Tunisia)