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Egypt coach releases Ahly players from key Uganda friendly

Egypt players Abou-Treika, Ekrami, Gomaa, Rabia and Shedid will skip Egypt's Uganda friendly to boost their team Ahly in a Champions League clash with AC Leopards

Eslam Omar, Thursday 8 Aug 2013
Ahly players
Egypt's Ahly players (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt technical staff, under the leadership of American manager Bob Bradley, have agreed to release several Ahly players from the Pharaohs’ squad for a Uganda friendly scheduled for 14 August.

The Egyptian champions are flying to Congo on the same date to prepare for a highly-anticipated match against AC Leopards in the African Champions League.

There have been speculations over the communications between Ahly and the national team lately as both have crucial games and need their key players.

The winners of seven Africa Cup of Nations trophies, who are bidding for their first World Cup since 1990, want to advance in the FIFA global rankings among African countries to gain a better classification in the coming World Cup.

In August's rankings, announced on Thursday, they were the eleventh-highest African country, at 62 in the global rankings. The top five African nations were Ivory Coast at 18, Ghana at 24, Mali at 28, and Algeria at 34.

Ahly players including keeper Sherif Ekrami, defenders Wael Gomaa, Rami Rabia and Ahmed Shedid, and midfielder Mohamed Abu-Treika have been excused from the Uganda game.

Midfielders Ahmed Fathi and Hossam Asour and goalie Mosad Awad will be playing with the Pharaohs as Ahly don't need them in the club tournament due to suspension.

Under the helm of coach Mohamed Youssef, title holders Ahly will be hosted by the Congolese team in the third round of the group stage on 17 August.

The seven-time African champions must win in Congo in order to continue their campaign for the title following Sunday's humiliating 3-0 defeat against Orlando Pirates.

Orlando Pirates top Group A with four points, ahead of second-placed AC Leopards who beat Zamalek 1-0 on Sunday.

Cairo rivals Ahly and Zamalek have one point each after playing out a 1-1 draw in their opening group-stage game, which was held in El-Gouna.

The Pharaohs are leading Group G of the World Cup qualifiers with 15 points, five ahead of second-placed Guinea. Mozambique holds third with two points, one point ahead of fourth place Zimbabwe.

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