Egypt’s coach Javier Aguirre has named 10 new faces and has dropped Liverpool’s winger Mohamed Salah and West Bromwich Albion’s centre-back Ahmed Hegazi from the squad for the Nations Cup qualifier against Niger and the friendly against Nigeria on 22 and 26 March.
The Mexican decided to give key figures Salah, Hegazi and Aston Villa's Ahmed Elmohamady a rest due to their busy schedule in England while testing some local-based players who have made an impact on the local scene in the last camp before the final preparation phase starts in June, just two weeks before the AFCON.
Keepers Mahmoud 'Genesh' Abdel-Rehim from Zamalek, Mohamed Abo Gabal from Smouha, Amer Amer from El-Entag El-Harby have been included in the 25-man list.
Defender Ahmed Ayman Mansour from Pyramids, left-back Ahmed Aboul-Fotouh from Smouha, central midfielder Nabil Emad from Pyramids, forward Islam Gaber from Dakhleya, Abdel-Rahman Magdi from Ismaily, striker Mostafa Mohamed from Talae El-Geish and youngster Ammar Hamdi from Ittihad will get the chance to launch their international career.
Aguirre has also decided to call for the first time under his helm the league's top scorer and defender Mahmoud Alaa from Zamalek, left-back Omar Gaber and keeper Ahmed El-Shenawy both from Pyramids, Ahly's midfielder Amr El-Sulaya and Kasimpasa left-back Karim Hafez.
The squad did not include Ahly’s outstanding January signings Ramadan Sobhi and Hussein El-Shahat or Egypt’s regular starters keeper Mohamed El-Shenawi, Ayman Ashraf and striker Marwan Mohsen.
Under Mexican tactician Aguirre, who was appointed in August last year, Egypt have secured four straight wins in the African qualifiers against Niger at home, eSwatini home and away respectively and Tunisia at home, scoring 15 goals and conceding only four.
Getting ready for the Nations Cup, the seven-time African champions are playing a friendly against Nigeria a few days after the Niger encounter as they eye a record-extending eighth title when the country hosts the flagship competition in June.
Goalkeepers: Mahmoud "Genesh" Abdel-Rehim (Zamalek) – Mohamed Abo Gabal (Smouha) – Ahmed El-Shenawy (Pyramids) – Amer Amer (El-Entag El-Harby)
Defenders: Omar Gaber (Pyramids) - Mohamed Hani (Ahly) - Ali Gabr (Pyramids) – Mahmoud Alaa (Zamalek) - Baher Elmohamdy (Ismaily) – Ahmed Ayman Mansour (Pyramids) – Karim Hafez (Kasimpasa, Turkey) – Ahmed Aboul-Fotouh (Smouha)
Midfielders: Amr El-Sulaya (Ahly) - Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal, England) - Tarek Hamed (Zamalek) – Ali Ghazal (Feirense, Portugal) – Nabil "Dunga" Emad (Pyramids) - Mahmoud "Trezeguet" Hassan (Kasimpasa, Turkey) - Amr Warda (Atromitos, Greece) – Islam Gaber (Dakhleya) – Ammar Hamdi (Ittihad of Alexandria) – Abdel-Rahman Magdi (Ismaily)
Forwards: Ahmed "Koka" Hassan (Olympiacos, Greece) – Salah Mohsen (Ahly) – Mostafa Mohamed (Talae El-Geish)
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