CAIRO: An exchange of words between Amr Zaki and some of his teammates contributed to Egypt s World Cup qualifier loss to Algeria, coach Hassan Shehata said on Thursday.
In an interview with Arab Radio and Television (ART), Shehata revealed that Zaki triggered an on-field disagreement with Mohamed Abou-Trika and Mohamed Zidan during Egypt s stunning 3-1 defeat to Algeria early this month.
Zaki spoke to Mohamed Abou-Trika and Mohamed Zidan in an inappropriate way during the match, the 60-year-old coach said.
They lost concentration and we consequently conceded three goals in 15 minutes.
The Pharaohs were keen to atone for their disappointing 1-1 home draw with Zambia in Group C opener of the qualifiers final phase.
But they were outplayed by a determined Algeria as their hopes of reaching the World Cup for the first time since 1990 faded.
Egypt, who has a game in hand, is at the bottom of the group by one point, six points behind leaders Algeria.
Zamalek striker Zaki, who spent last season on loan at Wigan Athletic, missed the Confederations Cup due to injury.
Reports suggested that he missed out on the eight-team tournament after being involved in a dispute with Shehata.
I have no problems with Zaki. He was injured and that s the only reason behind his omission, Shehata added.
The Pharaohs had an impressive start to their Confederations Cup campaign. They suffered a last-gasp 4-3 defeat to Brazil before stunning world champions Italy with a 1-0 win.
However, they failed to advance to the semi-final after slumping to a shocking 3-0 defeat to the United States in their last group-stage game.
We were unlucky against the US. We wasted three opportunities early in the game which would have given us the lead, Shehata said.