Mahmoud Abdel-Razek ‘Shikabala’ is likely to miss Egypt’s game against Uganda in the Nile Basin friendly tournament on Saturday due to a foot injury.
The lively Zamalek forward picked up the injury during Egypt’s 5-1 drubbing of lowly Tanzania in their Group A opener on Wednesday.
He was included in the Pharaohs’ staring line-up after earning a surprise call-up to the national team, given that he announced his retirement from international football few days before the tournament.
Shikabala produced a fine display against Tanzania and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet when his left-foot volley struck the post from inside the area.
Egypt coach Hassan Shehata can, though, be boosted by the return of Ahly’s Hossam Ghaly, who missed the Tanzania game due to a back injury.
Some pundits say Egypt will not benefit from playing in the newly-formed tournament because they face small teams who are far below them in FIFA’s national teams’ ranking, but the African champions’ assistant coach Shawky Gharib stressed the advantages the team could gain.
“We now have a good chance to experiment with Egypt’s squad,” he said in an interview with Al-Ahram daily.
“We are aiming to give a chance to all the players at our disposal to prove their worth in those five matches of the tournament.”
Egypt’s 25-man squad includes only home-based players, as the likes of Mohamed Zidan and Ahmed Elmohamady, who play for Germany’s Borussia Dortmund and English side Sunderland respectively, could not link up with the national team due to their club commitments.
The Nile Basin tournament is part of Egypt’s preparations for a crunch clash at South Africa in the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers in March.
Egypt will also host the United States in a friendly next month.