Egypt coach Javier Aguirre has settled on “80 or 90 percent” of the squad to play in the African Cup of Nations this summer, according to assistant coach Hany Ramzy, who explained that the technical staff are also trying to develop the younger generation of players.
"Aguirre has settled on 80 or 90 percent of the names that will join our squad at the African Cup. We feel comfortable as we are guaranteed a spot at the finals that will be played at home," Ramzy told MBC Masr TV channel early on Wednesday.
"The final squad will be announced in two months, so will involve a bigger vision after we have seen the new faces play at this camp. Leaving out some players this time doesn't mean that they won't join the team again," he added.
The Egypt team kicked off its preparatory camp in Alexandria on Sunday, ahead of their AFCON qualifier against Niger on 22 March and a subsequent friendly game against Nigeria four days later.
"The Niger and Nigeria matches are a chance to examine new faces that could have a role in the African Cup, especially as they will play under the fans’ pressure against Nigeria, like in official games," explained Ramzy.
Egypt was granted the tournament's hosting rights in January after Cameroon was stripped of those rights in December.
The Pharaohs, who have already booked a place in Africa's flagship tournament with one match to spare, are second with 12 points in their qualifying group, level with leaders Tunisia who enjoy a better goal difference.
"We want to give the youth players a chance, and also to prepare and provide them with the experience of preparatory camps, even if they aren't selected for tournament," Ramzy said.
On 26 February, Aguirre named a 25-man squad for the Niger and Nigeria tests, including 10 new faces.
The list did not include Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah, Aston Villa's Ahmed Elmohamady and West Bromwich Albion’s centre-back Ahmed Hegazi, to allow them to rest.
"We lacked preparation for the future before. Aguirre said that the player who proves himself on both the technical and physical levels will have a role with us," concluded Ramzy.
With Mexican Aguirre at the helm, Egypt have crushed Niger 6-0, defeated eSwatini 4-1 at home and 2-0 away, and dispensed with Tunisia 3-2 via a stoppage-time strike from Salah.
The 2019 AFCON is scheduled to take place from 21 June to 13 July, having been moved from January/February to avoid club-versus-country clashes.
Egypt won the last of their record seven AFCON titles in 2010.
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