Bob Bradley announces 29-man Egypt squad for World Cup qualifier
The Pharaohs host Zimbabwe in the crucial Group G clash on March 26 in Alexandria, four days after taking on Swaziland in a final warm-up.
10 Zamalek players were called up including uncapped duo Ahmed Gaafar and Nour El-Sayed after the Whites’ perfect start to the season, sealing 18 points from their first six games in the Egyptian Premier League.
27-year-old Gaafar is finally included in the Pharaohs’ squad despite previously criticizing the national team and Bob Bradley’s selections, telling FilGoal last year: “the national team always include players who do not play regularly for their clubs while I work hard to earn a call-up but to no avail.”
Gaafar is often criticized by Zamalek fans for failing to take his chances, but the towering striker is their top scorer so far this season after scoring six goals in all competitions, including three goals in six league appearances to make him the league’s joint top scorer along with Ahmed Hassan Mekki, Amr Marei and Bassem Morsi, although the latter two did not get called up.
Zamalek goalkeepers Abdel-Wahed El-Sayed and Ahmed El-Shennawy were both recalled as coach Bob Bradley has recently fallen out with veteran guardian Essam El-Hadary, who announced his international retirement last month, only to backtrack on his decision a few days later.
Zamalek captain Abdul-Wahed has only made a single appearance under Bradley so far, while El-Shennawy only just recently recovered from injury and has yet to play for the Whites this season.
Egyptian national team media officer Abdul-Rahman Magdy tells KingFut.com Al-Ahly’s talented teenager Rami Rabia was not included in the squad due to an agreement with the Egypt U-20 national team, who kickoff their African Youth Championship on Saturday against Ghana.
The list includes ten ‘Pharaohs Abroad’, including Basel duo Mohamed Salah and Mohamed El-Nenny, Hull City’s trio Ahmed Fathi, Ahmed Elmohamady and in-form Mohamed Nagy ‘Gedo’, and Bani Yas’ Mohamed Abou-Treika despite concerns over his fitness after missing the Emirati side’s last few games with injury.
The seven-time African champions head into this crucial camp after losing four consecutive friendlies to Ghana, Ivory Coast, Chile and Qatar.
The Pharaohs still are in a good position to finish on top of Group G after securing six points from their first two qualifiers against Mozambique and Guinea, where they then would qualify for the final two-legged round against one of the 10 group leaders for a place at next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
Goalkeepers: Abdel-Wahed El-Sayed, Ahmed El-Shennawy (Zamalek), Sherif Ekramy (Ahly)
Defenders: Wael Gomaa, Mohamed Naguib, Ahmed Shedid (Ahly), Mahmoud Fathallah, Omar Gaber, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy (Zamalek), Adam El-Abd (Brighton, England), Ahmed Saied Okka (Lierse, Belgium), Ahmed Fathi, Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City, England).
Midfielders: Ibrahim Salah, Mohamed Ibrahim, Ahmed Eid, Nour El-Sayed (Zamalek), Hossam Ashour, Abdallah El-Said (Ahly), Hosni Abd-Rabo (Al-Nasr, Saudi Arabia), Mohamed Salah, Mohamed El-Nenny (Basel, Switzerland), Amr El-Sulaya (Ismaily), Mohamed Abou-Treika (Bani Yas, UAE), Ahmed Hamoudi (Smouha, Egypt).
Forwards: Mohamed Nagy ‘Gedo’ (Hull City, England), Ahmed Gaafar (Zamalek), Ahmed Hassan Mekki (Haras El-Hodood), Ahmed Temsah (Dhofar, Oman).
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