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FEATURE | The players that fell into Hector Cuper’s Mouse Trap

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(Photo by Robert Hradil/Getty Images)

I will be honest here, it took me around 30 minutes into the first half to realise what Egypt manager Hector Cuper was doing as the Pharaohs lost their second friendly in less than a week against Greece.

Cuper started out the match making several changes to the team that almost beat European Champions Portugal last Friday. Mohamed Awad, Ahmed Elmohamady, Saad Samir, Omar Gaber, Hossam Ashour, Mohamed Magdy ‘Afsha’, Ramadan Sobhi, Momen Zakaria and Marwan Mohsen all started for the national team in place of Mohamed El-Shennawy, Ahmed Fathi, Ahmed Hegazi, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, Tarek Hamed, Abdallah El-Said, Mahmoud Trezeguet, Mohamed Salah and Ahmed Hassan ‘Kouka’.

Chances galore, right? Well at least that is what everyone thought… In reality it was a trap for many players and as bad as it may sound, it was a good trap to expose the players that are not capable of representing Egypt at the highest level. If it wasn’t apparent before, it surely is apparent now that there are three players that are absolutely irreplaceable for the Pharaohs and not one person between 104 million Egyptians can replace them, namely: Ahmed Hegazi, Abdallah El-Said and finally Africa’s finest Mohamed Salah Ghaly.

It is a fact that changing the core of the team would never help. If Cuper had at least kept Abdallah El-Said, that would’ve given some players in the forward line a chance to perform but unfortunately they were left to rely on the inexperienced Mohamed Magdy ‘Afsha’, who did well on his debut despite the result, a lost and outpaced Hossam Ashour to shield the defense, where they could not rely on him for one minute.

When you’re passing through a police checkpoint, they often can separate the good guys from the ones that are up to no good. Tonight, the Argentinian manager was the police and he set out his plan to expose players that he is regularly criticized for not giving them game time like Hossam Ashour, Saad Samir, and Momen Zakaria.

The following are a list of players that have most certainly lost all hope of catching the plane to Russia with the rest of the team.

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Operations and Business Development Manager of KingFut. Degree in Pharmacy and Biotechnology from the German University in Cairo. Manchester United fan.



  1. Mo

    March 28, 2018 at 6:00 PM

    You forgot Hussein El-Shahat. Even if it was his first match for the national team. If you talk about players who are in-form and good at their Clubs but bad playing for the national team you should definitely mention him. This game was his chance to show what he can do but he didn’t do anything at all. I don’t even remember just one showy action of him or even a good pass or cross. Maybe he has got 18 goals and assists this season for Makassa and Al-Ain. But please please remember that you cannot compare the UAE league or Egyptian league to football in Europe. The quality there is poor.
    I think Shikabala would perform better. I am absolutely not impressed from El-Shahat as well as Momen Zakaria, Hossam Ashour, Kouka & Awad.

    But i would really like to See sam morsy. I never saw him playing so i cant say anything about him.

    • Sherif Amin

      March 28, 2018 at 11:39 PM

      You could not have said it better brother. You litteraly took the words out of my mouth.. Shikabala played 20 mins in 2 games what do they expect him to do? Also Marwan Mohsen can’t score, and Hussein el Shahat was absolutely awful to watch… Good comment brother finally someone here who knows about soccer

  2. Ahmed

    March 28, 2018 at 9:48 PM

    Hossam ashour is a domestic football and not even decorated

  3. Sherif Amin

    March 28, 2018 at 11:44 PM

    You also forgot Marwan Mohsen and kouka who everyone seems to think they are good strikers .. Which is false.. They can’t score.. And strikers who can’t score should not play as its Thier position to finish. Shikabala proved himself against ghana and didn’t start any of the matches and was put in a left wing position where he never plays instead of the useless sobhi who also contributes nothing. You cannot single players out if you don’t finish the article propertly. There were many other players who miserably failed yesterday and Portugal name..

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