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Egypt squads pull out of 2015 African Games
The EFA have announced that both the Egypt men’s and women’s teams will not be partaking in the 2015 All Africa Games to be held in Congo in September, citing scheduling reasons as one of the main catalysts in the decision.
The 2015 All African games is set to be held in Brazzaville, Congo, starting on the 6th of September and running until the 18th. Both the men’s and women’s squad have now officially been withdrawn according to cafonline, with the official CAF website also quoting FIFA law which states that Egypt may still be replaced in the competition. Senegal missed out on qualification in the men’s pool after defeat against the Pharaohs, whilst Burundi missed out on qualifications in the women’s pool, however both sides are reluctant to fill the gap left by the departing Pharaohs due to a lack of preparation time, with the tournament kicking off in less than 2 weeks.
The reasons for the decision to withdraw from the EFA were not apparent immediately, however have surfaced recently, with EFA member Hamada Masri stating “The tournament schedule is totally inappropriate.” Although it is only the Olympic team which takes part in the games, many of the players included in the squad are first team players for Egypt and will be used in the upcoming 2017 CAF African Cup of Nations qualifier against Chad.
Masri also commented on crucial club ties upcoming, with Zamalek and Al Ahly still vying for top spot in their respective groups in the CAF Confederations Cup. “Al Ahly and Zamalek also have an important game in the African Confederation Cup in the middle of September. The clubs are rejecting requests for the players to leave their squad as they are seeking first place.” Masri then went on to cite the reluctance of clubs in Europe to release their players for the tournament, mentioning Ahmed Hassan ‘Koka’ in the process.
“All of this led us to refuse to participate and all of our focus at this time is on the U-23 African Nations Championship which will be held next November in Senegal.” Masri concluded. It remains to be seen whether or not CAF imposes any sanctions on the EFA after the shock withdrawal.