Replaceable or irreplaceable? Egypt's Cuper mulls options after Salah injury

Mahmoud Elassal , Friday 13 Nov 2015

Salah's injury is a headache for Egypt's coach ahead of the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign against Chad

Mohamed Salah
File Photo: Egypt's Mohamed Salah controls the ball during the World Cup qualifying playoff second leg soccer match, at the Air Defense Stadium in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 (AP)

With inspirational forward Mohamed Salah ruled out due to injury, Egypt's coach Hector Cuper has to weigh-up his replacement options ahead of the two-legged World Cup qualifiers against Chad.

The 23-year old winger has been a permanent feature for the seven-time African Champions since his breakthrough in 2011 but he sustained an ankle injury while playing in Roma's 2-0 win against Lazio last week.

Cuper has several choices in his 24-man squad depending on his game strategy against Chad on Saturday.

"Until now I see the 4-4-2 formation as the most ideal one for the team. With this formation the team attacks quite well," the Argentinean told Sport360 last week.

Braga striker Ahmed Hassan "Kouka" seems to be the perfect replacement for Salah if Cuper opts for a 4-4-2 formation to partner Zamalek and regular Egypt striker Bassem Morsi upfront.

The 22-year-old in-form striker enjoys this rich vein of form after scoring for Braga in both the Portuguese league and Europa League so far as well as producing some fine displays since joining Braga in the close season from fellow Portuguese side Rio Ave.

Otherwise, if Cuper switches to a 4-3-2-1 or 4-3-3 scheme there are plenty of players to fit in with his plans and play in the offensive midfield or winger roles.

Flamboyant winger Mahmoud "Kahraba" Abdel-Moneim became a regular starter for the Pharaohs since joining Zamalek last summer. The former Luzern, Grasshopper and ENPPI forward is taking the Egyptian Premier League by storm with his dazzling dribbles and goals.

The 21-year-old Mostafa Fathi, who made his second appearance with the national team, has been called up after the injury of Salah.

Fathi has produced some fine displays with Zamalek, helping the Whites to win the Egyptian Premier League title, Egypt Cup and reach the semi-finals of the CAF Confederation Cup. He is seen as one of the hottest prospects in Egyptian football.

Ahly in-form forwards Abdallah El-Said and Moemen Zakareya have been called up too and may have to contribute during the game.

Egypt are bidding to book a place in the 2018 World Cup in Russia as their last appearance in the world's most prestigious football tournament was in 1990.

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