Egypt coach Cuper calls-up 'joker' Tolba to join AFCON squad

Although Ahly defender Ahmed Hegazy was cleared as fit to play, Cuper wanted to rest him for longer

Mahmoud Elassal , Monday 9 Jan 2017,
Egypt's Hamada Tolba (L) Nigeria's Ahmed Musa jump for the ball during their African Cup of Nations group G qualification football match between Egypt and Nigeria at the Borg el-Arab Stadium in Alexandria on March 29, 2016 (AFP )

Egypt’s national team coach Hector Cuper has called-up Masry defender Hamada Tolba to join the Pharaohs squad for the 2017 African Cup of Nations in Gabon in case of any emergency.

"Hamada Tolba will join our squad for the Nations Cup to secure the team in case of any emergency," Cuper told a television programme after the 1-0 friendly win over Tunisia at Cairo stadium on Sunday.

"Tolba is a joker player, who can help at any place in the defence," Cuper explained.  

"He is the player you wish to have in your squad at anytime," the Argentinean coach added.

The 35-year-old defender Tolba was part of the Egyptian national team squad during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and he managed to meet the expectations of Cuper.

"Tolba is the only player who can replace any injured player in the squad as he can fill in any place in the defence area," Cuper said.

Although Ahly defender Ahmed Hegazy has been declared fit for Sunday's friendly against Tunisia, Cuper was hesitant about adding the towering star to the squad to instead give him a longer time to recover from his injury.

"I preferred to rest Hegazy as I want to give him a longer time to complete his rehab," Cuper said.

Egypt defeated Tunisia 1-0 in a friendly at Cairo International Stadium on Sunday ahead of participation in the 2017 African Cup of Nations.

The Pharaohs are due to take on Ghana, Mali and Uganda in Group D, which will be played in Gabon from 14 January to 5 February.

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