Egypt drop Ahly's Afsha for final African Nations Cup squad

Mahmoud Sheleib , Wednesday 29 Dec 2021

Ahly playmaker Magdi Afsha was a surprise exclusion as Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz announced on Wednesday the team's final 25-man squad for the African Cup of Nations.

Magdi Afsha
Egypt s Magdi Afsha celebrates after scoring his side s opening goal during the Arab Cup soccer match between Qatar and Bahrain at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 (AP)

Afsha, who played an instrumental role in steering Ahly to two back-to-back African Champions League titles, has been a key member of Egypt's squad over the past two years.

He was also part of the Pharaohs' roster for the FIFA Arab Cup earlier this month but some recent uninspiring displays have prompted Queiroz to drop him.

Pyramids' veteran schemer Abdallah El-Said, 36, is now expected to assume Egypt's playmaking duties at the biennial tournament.

Other notable absentees include Zamalek's defensive midfielder Tarek Hamed, who was left out of the preliminary squad, club teammate Mostafa Fathi and Konyaspor's on-loan striker Ahmed 'Kouka' Hassan.

The squad is led by Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah, who is joined by some prominent foreign-based footballers including Stuttgart winger Omar Marmoush, Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny and Galatasaray striker Mostafa Mohamed.

Aston Villa winger Mahmoud Trezeguet was also named in the squad, having recently recovered from a lengthy injury layoff, as was Ahly midfielder Amr El-Sulaya even though he is still nursing a calf injury.  

Cameroon will host the Nations Cup from 9 January to 6 February. There was speculation that the tournament might be delayed again because of the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant but the Confederation of African Football (CAF) eventually decided to hold it as scheduled.

Record seven-time winners Egypt kick off their Nations Cup campaign against Nigeria on 11 January. They will also face Sudan and Guinea-Bissau in Group D.

Egypt's full squad

Goalkeepers: Mohamed El-Shennawy (Ahly), Mohamed Abo Gabal (Zamalek), Mohamed Sobhy (Farco), Mahmoud Gad (Enppi)

Defenders: Ayman Ashraf (Ahly), Ahmed Fatouh (Zamalek), Ahmed Hegazy (Ittihad of Jeddah), Akram Tawfik (Ahly), Mahmoud 'El-Wensh' Hamdi (Zamalek), Mahmoud Alaa (Zamalek), Mohamed Abdel-Monem (Future FC), Omar Kamal (Future FC)

Midfielders: Amr El-Sulaya (Ahly), Emam Ashour (Zamalek), Abdallah El-Saied (Pyramids FC), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Ahmed Sayed Zizo (Zamalek), Hamdy Fathy (Ahly), Mohanad Lasheen (Talae El-Geish)

Forwards: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Mostafa Mohamed (Galatasaray), Omar Marmoush (Stuttgart), Mahmoud 'Trezeguet' Hassan (Aston Villa), Ramadan Sobhy (Pyramids FC), Mohamed Sherif (Ahly)

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