Shikabala receives first Egypt call-up in three years ahead of Ghana test

Ahram Online , Tuesday 31 Oct 2017

Shikabala, who currently plays in the Saudi league, makes a comeback with Egypt after three years of absence

Egypt's Mahmoud Shikabala (Reuters)

Egyptian winger Mahmoud “Shikabala” Abdel-Razek has been called for Egypt's training camp amid preparations for facing Ghana in the last round of the African qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, national team supervisor Ehab Leheta announced on Tuesday.

Egypt, who have already clinched the qualifying ticket in Group E, will hold a training camp in the UAE starting 6 November and play the hosts in a friendly on 9 November, three days before the Ghana game in Cape Coast.

The 32-year-old Shikabala, a long-time Zamalek star skipper and former Egyptian international, has produced many fine displays with the Saudi team Al-Raed since joining them last summer.

A week ago, Egypt's coach Hector Cuper called up 16 foreign-based players for the Ghana game, but Shikabala was not included.

After shining during his side's 5-1 win over Al-Baten in the Saudi league on Thursday; scoring one goal before creating another, Shikabala managed to make an international comeback after more than three years of absence.

Shikabala, who came through Zamalek's youth ranks, has 29 caps with the Pharaohs, but his last international appearance date was in September 2014.

He is one of the most popular players in Zamalek's history. He played in Europe twice; first with the Greek PAOK (2005-2007) and then with Portuguese Sporting in 2014, with whom he made a single appearance.

Abdel-Razek returned to Zamalek in the 2015 winter transfer window after terminating a loan with Ismaily by mutual consent.

He played in the Gulf once before with Emirati Al-Wasal on loan (2012-2013).

With Zamalek, Shikabala helped the Whites win two Egyptian leagues (2003 and 2004), four cups (2002, 2008, 2013 and 2016) and one Super Cup (2016).

He was in the Egypt squad who won the African Cup of Nations in 2010.

Egypt ended a 27-year World Cup drought after defeating Congo 2-1 earlier this month to book their ticket to next year's World Cup in Russia. 

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