Egypt national team coach Hector Cuper has named his first squad since the Pharaohs lost in the final of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Gabon, falling 2-1 to champions Cameroon at the beginning of February.
Determined to refocus and put the disappointment of finishing second in the continental showpiece competition behind him, the Argentinian coach called up 25 players for national team duty in a friendly international against Togo set for next week.
The players are expected to remain in camp in Alexandria for training from March 22 – 28, giving them valuable time to prepare for the 2019 AFCON qualifiers.
The 25-man squad includes 10 players who ply their trade outside of Egypt, including the likes of Wigan Athletic’s Sam Morsy, Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny, and Mohamed Salah of Roma.
Salah has been one of the stand-out performers within the team, and remains their deadliest threat in attack, with his combination of pace and skill causing problems for opposition defenders.
The Roma attacking player is one of the best African players in the game at the moment, and Cuper will be relying on his prolific goalscoring and prowess in attack.
Goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who holds the record for the oldest player at the AFCON at the age of 44, is also included in the squad, enabling him to continue his path towards a dream of appearing for the Pharaohs at the 2018 World Cup, should they qualify and he remains in contention.
Goalkeepers: Mahmoud Gennesh (Zamalek), Essam El-Hadary (Wadi Degla), Sherif Ekramy (Al Ahly)
Defenders: Ahmed Fathi (Al Ahly), Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City – England), Mohamed Abdel-Shafy (Al-Ahli – KSA), Karim Hafez (Lens – France), Ahmed Hegazy (Al Ahly), Saad Samir (Al Ahly), Ali Gabr (Zamalek), Amr Tarek (ENPPI).
Midfielders: Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal – England), Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Abdallah El-Said (Al Ahly), Amr Warda (PAOK – Greece), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City – England), Mahmoud Hassan ‘Trezeguet’ (Royal Mouscron – Belgium), Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic – England), Alexander Jakobsen (Viborg FF – Denmark), Mostafa Fathi (Zamalek), Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim ‘Kahraba’ (Al-Ittihad-KSA), Ahmed El-Sheikh (Misr El-Maqassa).
Forwards: Mohamed Salah (AS Roma), Amr Gamal (Al Ahly), Arafa El-Sayed (Wadi Degla)