Egypt's snub to Zamalek striker Morsi not a punishment: Coach

Osama Nabih opens the door for Morsi's future return to the Pharaohs, says new faces will be tested in Tunisia friendly match

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Tuesday 3 Jan 2017,
Egypt's assistant coach Osama Nabih (Al-Ahram)

Zamalek striker Bassem Morsi's exclusion from Egypt's lineup for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations was for tactical, not disciplinary reasons, assistant coach Osama Nabih told an Egyptian radio station Monday night.

Morsi was surprisingly left out of Egypt's squad for the Nations Cup, which kicks off in Gabon on 14 January, although he has been a regular member since Hector Cuper took charge of the team in February 2015.

Some reports said the 25-year-old was omitted for disciplinary reasons after allegedly venting his frustration at being subbed out in the 2-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Ghana in November.

"Morsi's exclusion was only for technical reasons; it was not a punishment. We chose players who will fulfill our tactical needs. This doesn't mean that Morsi won't be with us again in the future," explained Nabih.

In preparation for the Gabon finals, the Pharaohs are set to host Tunisia in a friendly match at Cairo's international stadium on 8 January.

"We will test some new faces in the friendly match against Tunisia," Nabih said.

"All the players should be at the [training] camp on Tuesday," he added, referring to the foreign-based players who didn't join the training that began on Sunday.

The record seven-time African champions Egypt will take on Ghana, Mali and Uganda in Group D of the Nations Cup, which will be played in Gabon from 14 January to 5 February.

After missing the past three editions, the Pharaohs reached the cup this year for the first time since winning their seventh title in Angola in 2010.

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