Ahly duo Sherif, Afsha out of Egypt's final squad for Libya double-header

Ahram Online , Friday 1 Oct 2021

Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz surprisingly excluded Ahly's key duo Mohamed Sherif and Magdi Afsha from the team's final 24-man squad for a crucial double-header against Libya in the World Cup qualifiers next week.

Magdi Afsha
Magdi Afsha, who was left out of Egypt s squad for World Cup qualifying games against Libya, in action during a friendly against Liberia on 30 September (Photo: the Egyptian FA s official Facebook page)

The Portuguese raised eyebrows on Friday after snubbing Sherif, the Egyptian Premier League's top scorer last season with 21 goals, and playmaker Afsha, who is one of Ahly's standout and key performers.

Queiroz gave no immediate explanation for leaving out both men, one day after Sherif's double gave Egypt a 2-0 friendly victory over Liberia in their last warm-up before the Libya clashes.

Pyramids' veteran right-back Ahmed Fathi and Ahly defender Yasser Ibrahim, who were not part of Egypt's preliminary squad, were named in the final roster.

Stuttgart's on-loan winger Omar Marmoush, who played four matches for Egypt's U23 side but has not made any appearances with the senior team, retained his place in the squad while Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny was included after recovering from an injury, even though he is still short on match fitness.

However, there was no room for Ipswich Town midfielder Sam Morsy, Yeni Malatyaspor's full-back Karim Hafez and Altay's newly-signed striker Ahmed Rayan.

In the absence of Sherif, Galatasaray's on-loan frontman Mostafa Mohamed is likely to vie with Konyaspor's Ahmed Kouka for the lone striker's position.

Queiroz was named as Egypt's boss last month, succeeding Hossam El-Badry, who was shown the door following Egypt's disappointing 1-1 draw away to Gabon in their second World Cup qualifying game.

The draw left Egypt with four points from two matches in Group F, two behind surprise package Libya.

Egypt host Libya in Alexandria on 8 October before facing their North African neighbors away from home three days later. The two games could be vital to the Pharaohs' chances of reaching the World Cup for a second consecutive time.

Egypt's full squad:

Goalkeepers:Mohamed El-Shennawi (Ahly), Mohamed Abou-Gabal (Zamalek), Mohamed Sobhi (Pharco), Mohamed Bassam (Talae El-Geish)

Defenders:Ahmed Fatouh, Mahmoud El-Wensh (Zamalek), Yasser Ibrahim, Ayman Ashraf, Akram Tawfik (Ahly), Ahmed Hegazy (Ittihad, Saudi Arabia), Baher El-Mohammadi (Ismaily), Ahmed Fathi (Pyramids).

Midfielders:Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal, England), Hamdi Fathi, Amr El-Sulaya (Ahly), Tarek Hamed, Ahmed Zizo (Zamalek), Ibrahim Adel, Abdallah El-Said, Ramadan Sobhi (Pyramids).

Strikers:Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, England), Omar Marmoush (Stuttgart, Germany), Ahmed Kouka (Konyaspor, Turkey), Mostafa Mohamed (Galatasaray, Turkey).

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