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Egypt coach 'shocked' by injury to key striker, looks for alternatives

Mohamad Mosselhi , Tuesday 28 Oct 2014
Shawky Gharib
Egypt's coach Shawky Gharib (2nd L) gestures next to team director Ahmed Hassan (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt manager Shawky Gharib  faces a selection headache upfront after the team's main striker suffered a serious knee injury that will rule him out of action for at least six months as the Pharaohs prepare for two crucial African Nations Cup qualifiers

Ahly's Amr Gamal, who has been a key player in Egypt's frontline recently, ruptured a cruciate knee ligament during the team's 0-0 draw with top-flight debutants Assiouty Sport in the Egyptian Premier League on Monday. 

Egypt will have to do without him when they host Senegal next month before facing Tunisia away from home in their last Group G encounter as they aim to reach the Nations Cup for the first time since lifting the last of their record seven trophies in 2010.

They lie third in the group with six points, one behind Senegal and four adrift of leaders Tunisia with two matches remaining.

With the absence of a reliable striker in Egypt's squad, the injury of Gamal, who netted the opening goal in the 2-0 victory over Botswana in Cairo, comes as a major blow to Gharib.

"Gamal is our pivotal striker. We are shocked by his injury," the manager said in a television interview.  

"We are trying to prepare a replacement for Gamal. The choices now include the Egyptian league top scorer Arafa El-Sayed, Harras El-Hodoud's Ahmed Hassan Mekki, Zamalek's Bassem Morsi and Masry's Ahmed Raouf."

When asked about the possibility of calling-up Ahly's veteran striker Emad Meteb, Gharib said that will depend on how the player fares with Ahly in the Premier League, having struggled to play on a regular basis with the Red Devils due to fitness problems. 

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