Shawki call up only six foreign-based players

Half of the foreign-based players who were selected for Egypt’s opening two Nations Cup qualifiers are excluded as coach Shawky Gharib seeks to make up for a woeful start when the team meet Botswana twice in the space of five days next month.

Aly Ghazal, Shikabala and Ahmed Hassan ‘Koka’ were all left out, as was Fiorentina’s out-of-favour centre back Ahmed Hegazy and Grasshopper midfielder Mahmoud Kahraba.

“Our decision is based on a broad assessment of the foreign-based players and whether they are playing regularly with their respective teams,” Gharib, whose job is under scrutiny, told Egyptian Media.

“We are not pressured by anyone to make certain decisions. We are keen on selecting the best players and we anyone who proves his worth will find a place in the national team in the coming period.”

Qatar-based defender Ahmed Fathi, Hull City winger Ahmed Elmohamady, Chelsea forward Mohamed Salah, Basel duo Mohamed Elneny and Ahmed Hamoudi and Nacional Madeira midfielder Saleh Gomaa have all retained their place in Egypt’s squad.

The Pharaohs, who won three Nations Cup on the trot before stunningly failing to reach two successive editions in 2012 and 2013, lie at the bottom of the group. Senegal and Tunisia are joint top with six points each.

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