Egypt’s veteran goalkeeper, El Hadary, out of Nigeria tie
‘Pressure getting on Pharaohs’
Essam El-Hadary, winner of three African Nations Cup titles, will not be part of today’s African Nations Cup qualifier between Egypt and Nigeria at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna.
According to reports from the Egyptian camp, the 42-year-old custodian suffered a medial calf injury in the team’s first training session in Kaduna about 24 hours before the today’s game.
The Egyptian legendary shot-stopper limped off the pitch and did not take further part in the training session yesterday.
El-Hadary now joins Zamalek attacking winger, Mostafa Fathi, on the sidelines after the outfield player was ruled out following stomach problems in the build-up to the match.
Egypt head coach, Hector Cuper, will now narrow his goalkeeping selection to Ahmed El-Shenawy and Mohamed El-Shenawy.
Meanwhile, the Pharaohs’ Assistant Coach, Osama Nabih, has called on fans and the media to ease the pressure on the team ahead of the crucial face-off against Nigeria.
The Pharaohs are at the top of the Group G with six points, two ahead of Nigeria, with the two to face-off in a two-legged crucial head-to-head on Friday in Kaduna and Tuesday in Alexandria.
“The two games will not seal the qualification because we still have two other matches against Tanzania and Chad,” Nabih was quoted as saying by state-news agency MENA yesterday.
“We should not be putting so much pressure on the staff and players and saying that their future depends on these two games,” he added.
The seven-time African champions have failed to reach the continent’s elite competition since they last won the title in 2010.
However, Nabih said he is optimistic about the team’s chances and said that the current generation has the potential to overcome the challenge and reach next year’s finals.
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