Brazil 2014: Egypt name initial 33-man squad for Ghana clash

4/12/2013
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Ahead of their crunch World Cup Qualifying play-off with Ghana, Egypt boss Bob Bradley has selected 10-foreign based players, with local inclusions dominated by Al-Ahly.

The 33-man squad includes FC Basel pair Mohamed Salah and Mohamed Elnery, who helped the Swiss champions to a famous victory at Chelsea last week, while rece nt centurion Mohamed Abou-Treika is also included.

Salah netted in the 4-2 win over Guinea to book their spot in the play-offs, taking his international record to an impressive 17 goals in just 24 games, including five in their last three qualifying games for Brazil 2014.

Salah is joined by English-based Ahmed Elmohamady and Gedo from Premier League side Hull City, while Brighton defender Adam Al-Abd has alsoc been called up.

Sport360 Exclusive: Ghana and Gyan hold no fears for Elmohamady

The American coach has called-up 11 players from Egyptian champions Al-Ahly who have reached the semi-finals of this season’s ongoing AFC Champions League.

From the other 23 domestic-based players, Zamalek have five representatives, including the recalled frontman Mohamed Ibrahim.

Bradley has made a handful of changes from the squad which defeated Guinea in the decisive Group G match in qualifying with Zamalek’s Abdul-Wahed Al-Sayed and defender Mahmoud Fathallah noticable absentees.

The players will meet up on Wednesday for a warm-up camp with two friendly dates to be arranged before their October 15 first-leg match with the Black Stars.

Egypt provisional squad to face Ghana:

Goalkeepers: Sherif Ekrami (Ahly), Ahmed Al-Shennawi (Masri), Mohamed Sobhi (Ismaili)

Defenders: Wael Gomaa, Rami Rabiea, Ahmed Shedid, Ahmed Fathi, Mohamed Naguib, Sayed Moawad (all Ahly), Mohamed Abdul-Shafi (Zamalek), Ouka (Degla), Adam Al-Abd (Brighton, England), Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull, England), Ahmed Farag (Lierse, Belgium)

Midfielders: Hossam Ashour, Mohamed Abou-Treika, Walid Soliman, Abdullah Al-Saied (all Ahly), Omar Gaber, Shikabala, Ahmed Eid ( both Zamalek) Amr Al-Sulaya (Ismaili), Ahmed Hamoudi (Smouha), Hossam Ghaly (Lierse, Belgium), Ibrahim Salah (Orouba, Saudi Arabia), Mohamed Elneny (Basel, Switzerland), Mahmoud ‘Kahraba’ (Luzern, Switzerland)

Strikers: Mohamed Ibrahim (Zamalek), Ahmed Temsah (Dakhlia), Ahmed Hassan ‘Koka’ (Rio Ave, Portugal), Mohamed Salah (Basel, Switzerland), Amr Zaki (Al-Salmiya, Kuwait), Gedo (Hull, England)

 

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UEFA chief Platini makes visit to Afghanistan

4/12/2013
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UEFA president Michel Platini has vowed to help football grow in Afghanistan as he visited the capital Kabul and praised players for keeping the game alive through decades of warfare.

Platini's visit on Sunday came amid a nationwide surge in interest in football after the national team beat India 2-0 in the final of the South Asian Football Federation championship earlier this month in Nepal.

The win was Afghanistan's first international trophy, and the country erupted in joy with happy crowds pouring onto the streets to mark the occasion as guns were fired into the air in celebration

"They have won matches despite the insecurity, so they have continued to play football during some difficult moments," Platini said. "It is for that that I respect them a lot."

The 58-year-old former French international, who is also vice-president of world body FIFA, chatted with young players at the Afghan Football Federation (AFF) ground, and was also due to meet with President Hamid Karzai.

"We are ready to help," he said. "We are not allowed to give money, but we are allowed… to help on the grassroots and with many programmes that we can do, and we will be very proud to help Afghanistan.

"I've just seen young players play football with some girls, that is very nice, that is my pleasure. When I see that I'm very happy."

Danesh Morteza, spokesman for the AFF, said that other football stars should follow in the footsteps of Platini and David Beckham, who visited British troops in Helmand province in 2010.

"Football has risen to such a peak that Mr. Platini has come to Afghanistan, and his visit shows that we have good security here," he said. 

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Wenger talks up PSG & Monaco’s striking ‘animals’

4/12/2013
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Ex-Monaco boss Arsene Wenger has described Ligue 1 striking duo Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani as "animals" ahead of his former club's top-of-the-table clash against Paris Saint-Germain.

Ligue 1's nouveaux riche duo meet at the Parc des Princes tonight in an eagerly-anticipated clash of the top two, with Russian-owned Monaco holding a two point advantage over their Qatari-backed rivals.

Having coached in the tax haven Principality for seven years, winning the league title in 1988 and French Cup in ‘91, Wenger naturally keeps an eye on his native top-flight, which has undergone an incredible free-spending summer.

After winning the Ligue 2 crown last term, Monaco, backed by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, embarked on a £150million summer of spending, bringing in the likes of Falcao, James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho.

Not to be outdone, PSG, winners of the Ligue 1 title for the first time since 1994 last season, splashed out £54m – a French transfer record – on Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani from Napoli.

Like many, Wenger is an admirer of both Falcao, who has netted four goals in his first five games, and Cavani, with two goals to his name in five, and appreciates the acute differences in their respective playing styles. 

"I believe it's very difficult to make a difference because for me they are very similar. They have an animal aspect inside of them. Both of them are animals," Wenger told BeIn Sport.

"I think Cavani is a bit more mobile, and makes more runs off the ball, and Falcao is a bit more of a box player, a bit more of a killer than Cavani. But both of them, I love.

"And honestly, not to protect one or the other, but it's very difficult to make a difference between the two."

The same can be said of the two sides, both of whom have enjoyed unbeaten starts to the campaign and have been tipped to tussle for the title.

But Monaco midfielder Moutinho has been quick to play down the hype surrouding his side. "Paris is obviously our main competitor in the championship. This is a team already formed with great players who have known [each other] for one or two years," the Portuguese international told Le Parisien. 

"I also faced most of them last year in the Champions League with Porto. I know their value. But we do not have to be ashamed."

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