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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Egypt assistant coach acclaims 'tactically intelligent' Shikabala

Omar Zaazou , Sunday 12 Nov 2017
Shikabala
Egypt's Shikabala (C) scored his side's goal in a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with Ghana (Photo: the Egyptian FA official website)
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Egypt assistant manager Osama Nabih lauded the 'tactically intelligent' Shikabala after the midfield wizard scored in his side's 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw against Ghana in Cape Coast on Sunday.

Playing his first Egypt game for the first time in three years, an in-form Shikabala put in an impressive display which was capped by a superb second-half goal that put the already-qualified Pharaohs in front.  

"Shikabala is tactically intelligent. He fulfilled most of the duties that we've assigned him in the game," Nabih told ON Sport TV channel.

"The players were under pressure to prove themselves to the Egyptian fans and not to the management; because they know well that we're convinced they are good players.

"We rested Mohamed Salah, Ahmed Hegazi and Mohamed Abdul-Shafi to give other players the chance. Due to the injury of other players they could have well taken the chance as well."  

Continuously looking to press his opponents and feed his teammates with through balls in the final third, Shikabala – on loan from Zamalek to Saudi side Al-Raed – earned plaudits for his exploits in the Group E final qualifier.  

Egypt manager Hector Cuper had decided to rest English Premier League duo Mohamed Salah and Ahmed Hegazi due to different reasons, while left-back Mohamed Abdul-Shafi was left out through injury.

Reports were rife that keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi was set to stand between the posts in the meaningless game against Ghana, but the Zamalek's guardian's injury meant Sherif Ekramy was to be given the nod.

Egypt have already secured World Cup qualification after overcoming Congo 2-1 in the penultimate round, reaching the quadrennial competition for the first time since 1990. 

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