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Egypt have left wing clipped ahead of Tunisia clash

Mohamed Abdel-Shafi returns to the Pharaohs squad as Gharib struggles to find answers to defensive frailties exposed during 2-0 defeat by Senegal

Eslam Omar, Sunday 7 Sep 2014
Mohamed Abdel-Shafy
Zamalek's Mohamed Abdel-Shafy (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Zamalek left winger Mohamed Abdel-Shafi has joined the Egyptian national team's preparation camp for Wednesday's home match against Tunisia in the 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifiers, despite his injury.

The club sent a letter to the Pharaohs' technical staff recommending a rest for the player as a backbone injury, which he sustained on 22 August, has not totally healed and needs a rehabilitation programme.

Egypt are bidding for a return to their favorite championship, to be held in Morocco, after they failed to qualify for two competitions in a row, but their first qualifier on Friday did not go to plan.

The record holders of seven Cups, including three successive (2006, 2008 and 2010), were defeated 2-0 away by Senegal on Friday, in Gharib's first official game as head coach.

The 55-year-old tactician quickly called up Abdel-Shafi, who is experienced in his position, in an attempt to make up for a poor performaance from Ahly's Ahmed Fathi, a natural right-back who had to play on the left against Senegal.

"I depended on Ahmed Fathi in the left back position as I thought Sabri Rahil [of Ahly] lacks international experience," Gharib, former assistant to Hassan Shehata during the team's glory days, told an Egyptian TV programme.

Yet, there is no final decision announced regarding the position, which was held for years by retired Ahly player Sayed Mowad, but Abdel-Shafi is still an option for Gharib.

Rivals Tunisia kicked-off their bid successfully on Saturday, beating Botswana at home 2-1. They are expected to arrive in Cairo on Sunday without two key strikers: Issam Jemaa and Sami Allagui.

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

 

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