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Briefs
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 23 - 05 - 2019


Egypt set for friendlies
The Pharaohs of Egypt are ready for their two friendly games to be played in preparation for next month's Africa Cup of Nations, or AFCON. Egypt is scheduled to enter a training camp at Borg Al-Arab Stadium in Alexandria on 6 June before playing two friendlies against Tanzania and Guinea on 13 and 16 June respectively. The tournament starts on 21 June. The two matches are to be held in Borg Al-Arab.
Head coach of the Egyptian national team Javier Aguirre announced his 25-man squad for the friendly matches, which is also the team's provisional list for the AFCON.
The list showed the return of some players to the team, including Ahli's playmaker Walid Suleiman, who had announced his international retirement months ago, as well as Pyramids FC midfielder Abdullah Al-Said, who hasn't been on the national team since the appointment of the Mexican head coach after last year's World Cup.
Also included, despite their absence from recent selections, were Egyptian league top scorer Ahmed Ali and Smouha's left back Ahmed Abul-Fotouh.
Aguirre had come under criticism from media and fans for not selecting Ahli and Zamalek wingers Ramadan Sobhi and Mahmoud Kahraba as well as Saudi Arabia-based goalkeeper Mohamed Awwad and in-form Zamalek defender Abdullah Gomaa.
Egypt will host the 24-team Nations Cup from 21 June to 19 July.
The record seven-time African champions play in Group A along with DR Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Egypt will open the tournament by playing Zimbabwe on 21 June.
The Egyptians are seeking the prestigious title for the first time since 2010, the last of their victories. Egypt was runner-up in the 2017 edition, losing 2-1 to Cameroon in the final in Libreville, Gabon.
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Egypt's preliminary squad:
Goalkeepers: Ahmed Al-Shennawi (Pyramids FC), Mohamed Al-Shennawi (Ahli), Mahmoud Gennish (Zamalek), Mohamed Abou-Gabal (Smouha)
Defenders: Ahmed Al-Mohamadi (Aston Villa), Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion), Omar Gaber (Pyramids FC), Ali Ghazal (Feirense), Ayman Ahsraf (Ahli), Mahmoud Hamdi (Zamalek), Baher Al-Mohamadi (Ismaili), Ahmed Ayman Mansour (Pyramids FC), Mahmoud Alaa (Zamalek), Ahmed Abul-Fotouh (Smouha)
Midfielders: Walid Suleiman (Ahli), Abdullah Al-Said (Pyramids FC), Mohamed Al-Nenni (Arsenal), Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan (Kasimpasa), Amr Warda (Atromitos), Nabil Emad (Pyramids FC)
Forwards: Ahmed Ali (Arab Contractors), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Marwan Mohsen (Ahli), Ahmed “Kouka” Hassan (Olympiacos)
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Ghana names provisional squad
Black Stars coach Kwasi Appiah has named a 29-man squad in his provisional list for the AFCON.
According to the Ghanaian Football Association, the 29 consist of three goalkeepers, 10 defenders, 11 midfielders and five strikers.
Goalkeepers
Richard Ofori (Maritzburg United, South Africa, Lawrence Ati-Zigi (Sochaux, Montbeliard, France), and Felix Annan (Asante Kotoko, Ghana)
Defenders
John Boye (Metz, France), Andy Yiadom (Reading, England), Abdul Baba Rahman (Reims, France), Lumor Agbenyenu (Goztepe A.S, Turkey), Kassim Nuhu, (Hoffeinham, Germany,) Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew SC, USA), Joseph Aidoo (Genk, Belguim), Nuhu Musa (St Gallen, Switzerland), Joseph Attamah (Basaksehir, Turkey), and Mohammed Alhassan (Hearts of Oak, Ghana)
Midfielders
Mubarak Wakaso (Deportivo Alaves, Spain), Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Kwadwo Asamoah (Internazionle, Italy), Ebenezer Ofori (New York FC, USA), Afriyie Acquah (Empoli, Italy), Andre Ayew ( Fenerbache, Turkey), Christian Atsu (Newcastle United, England), Samuel Owusu (Cukaricki, Serbia), Thomas Agyepong (Hibernian, Scotland), Yaw Yeboah (Numancia, Spain), Abdul Fatawu (Asante Kotoko, Ghana)
Strikers
Asamoah Gyan (Kayserispor, Turkey), Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace, England), Abdul Majeed Waris ( Nantes, France), Caleb Ekuban (Trabzonspor, Turkey) and Kwabena Owusu (Leganes, Spain)
Again, just as in Egypt, the list was criticised by media for bold call-ups of several young and inexperienced players like Samuel Owusu and Kwabena Owusu as well as snubbing and omitting some others including winger Frank Acheampong and strikers Emmanuel Boateng and Bernard Tekpetey.
The team will depart Accra on Saturday 1 June for pre-tournament preparations in Dubai. Of the 29 players, a final 23 will be named to represent Ghana at the tournament.
The GFA Normalisation Committee has lined up two high-profile preparatory matches for the Black Stars, against Namibia and South Africa.


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