CAIRO: Emad Meteb’s problem with Standard Liege cost him his regular place in Egypt’s squad after coach Hassan Shehata left him out of the team who will face DR Congo in a friendly game on Wednesday.
There was no room for Meteb for the first time since last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup which he missed due to a serious knee injury.
Shehata usually favors the 27-year-old and includes him in Egypt’s starting line-up on a regular basis even when he struggles for consistency.
However, he excluded him as a result of his ongoing dispute with Belgian side Standard Liege.
Meteb penned a deal to join the 10-time Belgian champions after his contract with Egyptian league holders Ahly expired but he inexplicably returned to Cairo following their first league game which he missed due to a back complaint.
Widespread reports said Meteb has decided to unilaterally terminate his contract with Standard Liege to rejoin Ahly in the January transfer window, using his unclear military status as an excuse.
Egypt’s 23-man squad for the DR Congo friendly featured several uncapped players, including Ismaili’s in-form midfielder Amr Al-Sulaya and Harras Hodoud striker Ahmed Mekki.
Ismaili frontman Ahmed Ali and Police Union defender Mohamed Naguib were also named in the squad.
Goalkeeper Essam Al-Hadari and Mohamed Nagi ‘Geddo’, who were under the spotlight recently, retained their place in the squad.
Al-Hadari sat on the bench in Zamalek’s Egyptian Premier League opener against Harras Hodoud as Abdul-Wahed Al-Sayed, who is the Pharaohs’ second-choice goalie, stood between the sticks.
Forward Geddo, who was the top scorer in Egypt’s triumphant Nations Cup campaign last January, played two games with Ahly after making a controversial summer move to the Cairo giants.
Egypt’s squad did not feature long-term absentees Hosni Abd-Rabou and Mohamed Zidan, who are nursing knee injuries.
Sunderland’s newly-signed wing-back Ahmed Al-Muhammadi was the only foreign-based player to be called up for the DR Congo game.