Door still open for Lisbon's Shikabala: Egypt coach

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Wednesday 19 Feb 2014

We didn’t pick Shikabala for Pharaohs training camp to allow him to settle in at Sporting Lisbon, says Shawky Gharib

Sporting Lisbon's winger Mahmoud ‘Shikabala’ (L). (Photo: the player's official facebook page)

Egypt's new coach Shawky Gharib says the door is still open for Sporting Lisbon winger Mahmoud ‘Shikabala’ Abdel-Razeq to play for the Pharaohs in the future.

He was not included in Tuesday's six-man list of foreign-based players to face Bosnia in a warm-up game in March.

"Shikabala's absence doesn't mean we will not pick him in the future," Gharib was quoted as saying by state news agency MENA on Wednesday.

"I preferred to give him the chance to adapt to his new club and we will consider calling him up for future training camps," the coach added.

The 27-year-old completed his move from Zamalek to Lisbon at the end of January. He was injured in his debut for the club in their 1-0 defeat against Tondela on Monday.

The Pharaohs will begin their first training camp of the year on 28 February and are set to face Bosnia in a friendly in Austria on 5 March.

Egypt, the winners of a record seven African Cup of Nations trophies, have not played since the World Cup playoffs in November.

"We will launch the training camp without the Ahly or Zamalek players who will join us after finishing their ties in the African Champions league on 1 March," explained Gharib.

"Also the foreign-based ones will join us directly at Munich Airport on our way to the match in Austria," he added.

Coach Shawky Gharib and his coaching team have been watching Egyptian league matches closely from the stands in the hope of finding some new talent.

Egypt is hoping for a new era as they prepare for the African Cup of Nations in Morocco in July 2015.

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