BY JOE APU
THE battle line is finally drawn with Egypt’s coach Hector Cuper announcing a 25-man squad yesterday for the Pharaohs’ crucial games against Nigeria in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
According to the list announced on the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) official website, nine players from Egyptian league champions Zamalek and seven from rivals Ahly were called for the two matches.
Zamalek duo striker Basem Morsi and winger Mahmoud Kahraba were the prominent absentees, alongside right winger Ahmed Fathi and midfielder Moamen Zakaria from Ahly.
Earlier on Monday, Cuper has called up five foreign-based players for the important confrontation, including Roma winger Mohamed Salah, Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny.
Egypt is leading group G with six points, two ahead of second-placed Nigeria as the only group winners guaranteed automatic qualification for the 2017 Cup of Nations.
The winners of three successive Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 2006, 2008, and 2010 will face Nigeria on 25 March in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers before playing the follow-up match four days later in Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria.