Egypt coach Cuper apologises to keeper Ekramy over 'misunderstanding'

Hatem Maher , Sunday 22 Jan 2017,
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Sherif Ekramy
Egypt's goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy reacts after the 2014 World Cup qualifying second leg playoff soccer match against Ghana at Air Defence "30 June" stadium in Cairo, November 19, 2013 (File photo: Reuters)

Egypt manager Hector Cuper apologised to stand-in goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy over what he described as a "misunderstanding" after the team's goalkeeping coach said Ekramy was not injured.

The Ahly keeper vehemently denied on Twitter earlier on Sunday any accusations that he had feigned injury, saying he was surprised that goalkeeping coach Ahmed Nagi suggested he was fully fit.

Egypt suffered a goalkeeping crisis during their opening Nations Cup clash against Mali last week when Zamalek's Ahmed El-Shennawi was replaced in the first half after sustaining a hamstring injury.

Veteran guardian Essam El-Hadary stepped in, leaving the bench with no substitute keeper because Ekramy was still nursing an injury he picked up ahead of their opening Group D game.

El-Shennawi was ruled out of the tournament while Ekramy was named as a substitute in Saturday's last-gasp 1-0 victory over Uganda, although he insists he has yet to fully recover from his complaint.

In a veiled criticism of Nagi, Ekramy said he did his best to help Egypt in their crisis despite not being fully fit.

Egypt's technical staff later issued a statement to soothe his anger, saying Argentinean boss Cuper had apologised to the 33-year-old.

"Cuper sat down with Ekramy to offer his apology over any misunderstanding caused by Ahmed Nagi's words, stressing that he fully backs him," the statement read.

"He also asked Ekramy to concentrate on his rehabilitation to recover quickly because the team needs him in this important stage of the Nations Cup, which Egyptians hope we would be able to win."

Egypt, who are second in Group D with four points, next face heavyweights and leaders Ghana (six points) in their final group stage clash on Wednesday. A draw will be enough for the Pharaohs to join the Black Stars in the last eight.  

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Group A W D L P
Egypt
3 0 0 9
Uganda
1 1 1 4
DR Congo
1 0 2 3
Zimbabwe
0 1 2 1
Group B W D L P
Madagascar
2 1 0 7
Nigeria
2 0 1 6
Guinea
1 1 1 4
Burundi
0 0 3 0
Group C W D L P
Algeria
3 0 0 9
Senegal
2 0 1 6
Kenya
1 0 2 3
Tanzania
0 0 3 0
Group D W D L P
Morocco
3 0 0 9
Cote d'Ivoire
2 0 1 6
South Africa
1 0 2 3
Namibia
0 0 3 0
Group E W D L P
Mali
2 1 0 7
Tunisia
0 3 0 3
Angola
0 2 1 2
Mauritania
0 2 1 2
Group F W D L P
Ghana
1 2 0 5
Cameroon
1 2 0 5
Benin
0 3 0 3
Guinea Bissau
0 1 2 1