Pharaohs name Arsenal’s star, others for Eagles
We are ready, says Siasia
The Pharaohs of Egypt has called up five European-based players for next week’s double-header African Nations Cup qualifiers against the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Prominent among them is Arsenal’s midfielder, Mohamed Elneny.
Others are AS Roma’s Mohamed Salah, Anderlecht’s Mahmoud Trezeguet’ Hassan, Ahmed Hassan Kouka of Sporting Braga Portugal and Amr Warda of Panetolikos in Greece.
Elneny joined Arsenal from FC Basel, where he made over 90 league appearances and won the Super League in three consecutive seasons from 2013 to 2015.
He featured regularly at Basel in the first half of the 2015/16 season, playing 28 games and scoring six goals.
He began his senior career with El Mokawloon in the Egyptian Premier League. Elneny helped Egyptian soccer team to the quarterfinals at the 2012 London Olympics.
Pharaohs’ coach Hector Cuper believes Elneny will be able to marshal the midfield in the 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier against the Eagles.
The three-time Africa Cup of Nations winner in 2006, 2008 and 2010, will face Samson Siasia’s Eagles in Kaduna on 25 March before playing the follow-up match four days later in Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria.
“Egypt’s national team will start a closed camp on March 20, three days before travelling to Nigeria,” Egyptian Football Association member, Ihab Liheta, said yesterday.
However, reports from Egyptian media indicate that the Pharaohs full squad, including local based players will be released today.
Egypt are leading group G with six points, two ahead of second-placed Super Eagles of Nigeria. The group winners will automatically qualify for the 2017 Cup of Nations.
Meanwhile, coach Samson Siasia said yesterday that he is not bothered by the inclusion of the Arsenal midfielder, Elneny and other foreign-based players in Pharaohs squad for the game.
Speaking with The Guardian, Super Eagles Media Officer, Toyi Ibitoye said that what mattered most for the Eagles is how they prepare well for the clash, adding that what the Pharaohs had in Elneny, the Eagles have in abundance in John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, Kelechi Iheanacho, Odion Ighalo among others.
“We won’t have sleepless night over the list of foreign-based players to be paraded by Pharaohs. The Eagles are equal to the teask,” Siasia said.
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