CAIRO: The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) are pressuring coach Hassan Shehata into recalling out-of-favor striker Mohamed Zidan to the national team s squad.
The Borussia Dortmund man was snubbed for Egypt s 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory at Rwanda after failing to show up for the friendly against Guinea last month.
Shehata had to rely on inexperienced duo Ahmed Raouf and Sayed Hamdi against Rwanda due to limited attacking options as Amr Zaki and Ahmed “Mido Hossam were also left out of the game.
Zaki was suffering from an injury while Mido lacked match fitness, leaving Shehata with a selection dilemma.
The Pharaohs will face Zambia in another crunch qualifier next month in Lusaka and Zidan s services are needed, EFA president Samir Zaher believes.
Egypt will have to do without the injured Hamdi against Zambia while the availability of Mido and Emad Meteb, who recently recovered from a serious knee injury, is yet to be determined.
Shehata still stands firm on his stance though.
He believes Zidan should not be granted a reprieve because he did not even explain his surprising decision to skip the 3-3 draw against Guinea in Cairo.
The return of the 27-year-old to Egypt s fold would also tarnish the image of the technical staff, who insisted more than once that discipline mattered most for them.
The African champions have an uphill to climb if they are to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1990.
They lie second in Group C with seven points, three behind leaders and North African rivals Algeria with two matches remaining.
Algeria also enjoy a three-goal advantage over Egypt. Only the group winners will qualify for next year s South Africa finals.