Commitment more important than Shikabala or Zidan, insists Bradley

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Tuesday 21 Aug 2012

Striker Mohamed Zidan and playmaker Shikabala need ethical commitment inside the pitch first to regain the confidence of Egypt's Bob Bradley

Bob Bradley
Bob Bradley (Photo: Reuters)

UAE's Al-Wasl playmaker Mahmoud Abdel-Razek "Shikabala" will not play Egypt's friendly against Saudi Arabia scheduled to be played on 9 September in London, the Pharaohs head coach Bob Bradley revealed on Monday.

Shikabala, who is seen as one of Egypt's major talents, has just left the White Castle team and joined UAE side Al-Wasl on a one-year loan after falling from favour at Zamalek. After Shikabala was substituted during a CAF Champions League match in May, he had a highly-publicised altercation with then-coach Hassan Shehata.

The 26-year-old gifted player was since excluded from Zamalek training sessions. He was also dropped from the Pharaohs' squad for their World Cup and African Cup of Nations qualifying campaigns, as well as the team that was competing in the 2012 London Olympics last month.

"I didn't say that we will call Shikabala for Saudi Arabia match. These are just rumours," Bradley told Ahram Sport.

"We have definite rules for calling players for the national team. Morals come first and then we look for the fitness and performance.

Also star striker Mohamed Zidan, who plays for UAE outfit Bani Yas, fell out of favour with the management of the Egyptian national team last month after looking for a new team to play with and skipping preparations for the Nations Cup qualifiers.

Zidan has been one of Egypt’s key players since making his international debut in a 2007 Nations Cup qualifier.

He played a pivotal role in helping the Pharaohs win the biennial tournament in 2008 and 2010, and was also part of the team’s squad for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa, where he famously scored against five-time world champions Brazil.

"I have no personal problems with any player, including Shikabala and Zidan, but featuring for the national team needs ethical commitment inside the pitch, especially as football is a team sport," concluded Bradley.

Egypt, who held to a 1-1 draw with Oman last week, will not play a competitive game until next year when they face Zimbabwe in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. They are on top of Group G with six points from two games after beating Mozambique and Guinea.

The seven-time African champions, who have not played at the World Cup since 1990 unexpectedly failed to qualify for the 2012 and 2013 African Nations Cups.

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