Egypt defender Saad Samir and midfielder Ramadan Sobhi were prepared as possible substitutes for the goalkeeping position at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, Samir revealed on Monday.
"Ramadan and I performed goalkeeping trainings in Gabon just in case," the 27-year-old Ahly defender told an Egyptian TV program.
Egypt, who missed their bid for an eighth title after losing 2-1 to Cameroon in the final Sunday, suffered a blow in the goalkeeping position early on in the tournament.
First-choice keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi of Zamalek sustained a hamstring injury during Egypt's first tournament game, just days after Ahly's Sherif Ekramy picked up the same injury during trainings.
Veteran 44-year-old keeper Essam El-Hadary found himself guarding his favorite net alone for the remaineder of the Nations Cup. He kept a clean sheet for four successive games and broke a record as the oldest player ever to play in the tournament.
The Pharaohs, who received only three goals in the tournament, were forced to think of possible substitutes for El-Hadary in case the former Ahly, Zamalek and Ismaily player sustained an injury too.
"A very genuine and loyal morale was obvious in our trainings. I felt sad when we left Gabon," Samir expressed.
The record holders of seven trophies, Egypt took the lead of the group stage with a goalless draw against Mali and two 1-0 victories over Uganda and Ghana.
The Pharaohs defeated Morocco 1-0 in the quarterfinals in a tough game before passing Burkina Faso with penalty shootouts, thanks to El-Hadary.
Despite losing the final, Egypt won the appreciation of fans and critics and were welcomed home at the airport by the country's president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
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