Egyptian Football Association chairman Hani Abou-Rida has praised Al-Nasr midfielder Hossam Ghaly and Ahly striker Emad Meteb, saying the Egyptian national team needs them at next year’s World Cup in Russia.
"I hope Ghaly and Meteb play in the World Cup. They are like my sons. I know their abilities very well. Only their presence is important. If it were my decision, I would definitely call them up for the squad," Abou-Rida told an Egyptian television programme on Wednesday.
Longtime Ahly skipper Ghaly, also known as “Il Capitano,” is currently starring in Saudi Arabia, and has not played with Egypt under Hector Cuper's technical staff management over the last two years, originally due to disputes with Cuper's assistant Usama Nabih.
"If I am not among the Egypt team playing at the World Cup, I will surely be one of their supporters. The first thing I did when Egypt qualified is to book tickets for me and my family," the 36-year-old has said.
Egypt this year made it to the World Cup after 28 years of absence, topping Group E of the African qualifiers. The Pharaohs have been drawn with Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and hosts Russia in Group A in the first stage of the tournament.
"To hear the EFA chairman say he wants to see me at the World Cup is a great thing, but in the end, playing in the field is the judge," he concluded.
Ghaly, a holder of the Africa Cup of Nations, is a former Tottenham Hotspur player (2006-2009) and was also loaned to Derby County in 2008, ending his Europe experience in Lierse in the 2013/14 season.
Ahly’s hero striker Meteb, who now rarely plays under the helm of coach Hossam El-Badry, won a series of trophies with the Cairo-based club, saving many games with his late-scoring skill.
The 34-year-old, who was Egypt's star player for years, was reported Wednesday to be departing his boyhood club in January, according to his agent.
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