Amr Zaki and Emad Meteb are not fit enough to be called up for Egypt’s squad for the crucial African Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa, coach Hassan Shehata said on Saturday.
Meteb has yet to make his first appearance with Ahly since rejoining the club in the January transfer window after breaking a rib in training.
Zaki, on the other hand, has just recovered from a niggling knee injury. He made a substitute appearance in Zamalek’s 3-0 Egyptian Premier League win over Smouha before playing a full 90 minutes in the 3-2 win over Arab Contractors.
“Meteb started his rehab last week and is yet to work with football in training while Zaki is not fully fit although he recovered from injury,” Shehata said in an interview with Al-Ahram Arabic.
“It will be very difficult to include them in the squad because we will begin our training camp on 27 May.”
The 61-year-old tactician also revealed that he could inject fresh blood by calling up some players from the Egyptian Olympic team.
“I may invite players from the Olympic team to join our squad for the South Africa game but it’s difficult to bring players from the Youth team,” he added.
Seven-time African champions, Egypt, have no other choice but to beat South Africa in Cairo on 5 June to keep their hopes alive of reaching next year’s Nations Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
The Pharaohs lie at the bottom of Group G with a solitary point from three matches, six behind leaders South Africa.
The winners of the 11 groups and the best two runners-up will qualify for the biennial tournament.