Zaki to lead Egypt's attack against Ghana

Karim Farouk, Sunday 17 Nov 2013

Powerful forward will take on Ghana after showing 'signs of progress' in training camp

File photo: Amr Zaki of Egypt celebrates his goal against Ivory Coast during their African Nations Cup semi-final soccer match in Kumasi February 7, 2008.(Photo: Reuters)

Al-Salmiya striker Amr Zaki seems to have secured a spot in Egypt's starting eleven as the Pharaohs face Ghana in the return leg of the World Cup qualifying playoff on Tuesday.

"Each time he comes to the camp he shows signs of progress. He has made a lot of improvement lately and he will be leading our frontline against Ghana," Egypt coach Bob Bradley said in a press conference Sunday.

The former Wigan, Hull City and Zamalek striker made the trip to Kumasi last month for the playoff's first leg but never left the bench.

"I thought we could have introduced him at later stages of the game but things didn't turn out as expected and we had to make different substitutions," Bradley added.

Zaki, 30, has been a permanent feature in Egypt's team since 2006, and he helped win two African titles in 2006 and 2008.

However, Zaki struggled with declining form and consecutive injuries for almost two years before being recalled again in 2013 by Bradley.

Bradley did not give many details about Tuesday's lineup but hinted that he may drop keeper Sherif Ekrami from the starting XI.

"Ekrami had some physical problems with that affected him with Ahly. Ahmed El-Shennawy is on the rise but played too little over the past year. He needed a match and that's why I made him play against Zambia. If I go by the book it will be Ekrami who played regularly with Ahly and with us. But If I follow my guts it will be El-Shennawy. It is too many details and we will discuss it in the staff."

Egypt need to win by a five-goal margin against Ghana on Tuesday to reach the World Cup finals.

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