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Friday, 17 September 2021

Egypt U23 team weigh options ahead of squad selection for Tokyo 2020: Football director

The young Pharaohs face a dilemma of filling in the three over-age players in the squad

Mahmoud Elassal , Thursday 1 Jul 2021
File photo of Egypt's U23 team. Al-Ahram

Egypt’s U23 national football team director Alaa Abdel-Aziz said that coach Shawki Gharib has more options to solve the problem of player selection ahead of the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The young Pharaohs face a dilemma of filling in the three over-age players in the squad, after Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah was confirmed to be unavailable for the games, along with Galatasaray’s in-form striker Mostafa Mohamed.

Olympics regulations for football tournaments state that each team is allowed to include three over-age players, while the rest of the players must be under 23 years of age.

The team's technical staff are also facing a dilemma as coach Gharib built up his squad on a number of Ahly players who will be playing the African Champions League final game on the same day the U23 are scheduled to fly to Tokyo on 17 July to take part in the Olympic Games.

"Shawki Gharib will announce the team's final squad on 2 July as the technical staff face a dilemma in player selection," Abdel-Aziz told a television programme.

"Gharib has more scenarios to solve the problems he faces in player selection."

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has asked the Confederation of African Football to move the final game of the Champions League to an earlier date to allow players to take part in the Olympic Games.

"CAF has not responded to our request, but I am optimistic about solving the problem by allowing Ahly players join the Olympic team squad at a late time.”

Ahly reached the CAF Champions League final game after beating Esperance of Tunisia 4-0 in the semifinals on aggregate.

The Pharaohs were drawn in a tough group at the Olympic Games, facing off against heavyweights Spain, Argentina, and Australia.

The 2012 quarterfinalists will open their campaign against Spain on 22 July before facing Argentina three days later and Australia on 28 July.

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