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The door is open for all players to join Egypt squad: Assistant coach Ramzy

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul, Tuesday 2 Oct 2018
Egypt
Egypt's assistant Coach Hany Ramzy (AP)
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The door is open for all Egyptian players to join the national team, according to assistant coach Hany Ramzy, who insisted that lowering the average age of the selected players is a current priority for the staff ahead the 2022 World Cup.

"The door is open for all players to join us. The national team isn't exclusive for definite players," Ramzy told ON Sport radio station on Tuesday.

Late on Monday, Mexican coach Javier Aguirre named 15 home-based players for a double-header against eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers later this month. The coach largely kept faith with the side that demolished Niger 6-0 in his debut last month.

Aguirre made a few changes, calling up Arab Contractors' in-form striker Ahmed Ali, who made the last of his seven international appearances in June 2011, and Zamalek's central defender Mahmoud Hamdi.

Ahly's veteran winger Walid Soliman, who played a key role in leading the Cairo giants to a place in the African Champions League semis, was left out alongside Zamalek's in-form defender Mahmoud Alaa.

Replying to some criticism to Aguirre's selections, Ramzy said that "our choices always raise a lot of questions regarding calling up a player and omitting another."

"We were comparing between Mahmoud Alaa and Mahmoud Hamdi of Zamalek and we chose to monitor the latter closely during the next camp. Alaa could rejoin the team in the coming period," said Ramzy.

"Omitting a player doesn't mean that the staff isn't monitoring him. All players are under our scope," he added.

"Walid Soliman (who will turn 34 in Decmeber) is a good and talented player, but our strategy is to reduce the age of the selected players," said Ramzy.

"The technical staff is preparing for the 2022 World Cup, so the players' age is a decisive factor in our choices," the coach explained.

Egypt hammered Niger in Alexandria last month to give Aguirre a winning start after he replaced Argentinean boss Hector Cuper following an embarrassing World Cup campaign.

The Pharaohs, who are second in Group J with three points, three behind leaders Tunisia, host eSwatini on 12 October before facing them away from home four days later.

"The camp for the eSwatini match will kick off on 8 October. We hope that we get a positive result and also deliver a good performance," Ramzy concluded.

The top two in the group will qualify for next year's Nations Cup finals in Cameroon.

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