Egypt sweat over keeper Abou-Gabal's fitness

Egypt is racing against the clock to prepare keeper Mohamed Abou-Gabal for Thursday’s clash against Cameroon in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals.

Ahram Online , Tuesday 1 Feb 2022,
Egypt s goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal gestures, during the African Cup of Nations 2022 quarter-final soccer match between Egypt and Morocco at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022. AP

The Zamalek keeper had to be replaced in extra-time against Morocco with a groin injury, making way for third-choice goalie Mohamed Sobhi, who made his international debut.

"The national team conducted their training session in Stade Olembe while Abou-Gabal is continuing his rehab," the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) said in a statement. 

Abou-Gabal, Egypt's second-choice keeper who deputised for Mohamed El Shennawi after the latter picked up a hamstring injury in the round of 16 clash against Cote d’Ivoire, made an instant impact with the Pharaohs. 

He blocked the penalty which gifted Egypt a shootout win over the Elephants before pulling off some superb saves in the 2-1 extra-time victory over Morocco in the quarter-final. 

According to reports coming from Cameroon, Abou-Gabal is unlikely to recover in time for the last-four game against the hosts despite the huge efforts he is putting in.  

This will leave coach Carlos Queiroz with 22-year old sobhi between the sticks and fourth-choice keeper Mahmoud Gad, 23, on the bench as El-Shennawi has been ruled out for at least three weeks.

The record seven-time African Champions will also miss towering defender Ahmed Hegazi, who sustained an adductor injury and has been ruled out of the tournament.

However, Queiroz will welcome back defender Mahmoud "El-Wensh" Hamdi, who is set to partner Mohamed Abdel-Moneim in central defence, and tireless midfielder Hamdi Fathi after both had recovered from muscle injuries.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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