Egypt calls up Saudi Arabia-based striker for World Cup warm-up friendlies

Updated 06 March 2018
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Egypt calls up Saudi Arabia-based striker for World Cup warm-up friendlies

CAIRO: Egypt coach Hector Cuper has given a first call-up to striker Hussein El-Shahat, the only surprise selection ahead of a pair of World Cup warm-ups against Portugal and Greece later this month.
El-Shahat, a 27-year-old forward who plays for Al-Ain in the UAE, has been on loan from Egyptian club El-Maqasah since January. He has scored seven goals and provided nine assists, helping his team move closer to winning the Gulf nation’s top league.
With good ball skills and a knack for finding the target, El-Sahaht could help reduce Egypt’s near complete dependence on Liverpool winger Mohammed Salah, who scored five of the national team’s seven goals in African qualifying.
Egypt is returning to the World Cup for the first time since 1990 and will face host Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia in the group stage.
Cuper gave another striker, Mahmoud Abdel-Razeq, only his second call-up since 2014 on Tuesday. Abdel-Razeq, better known as Shikabala, scored a superb goal in Egypt’s 1-1 draw with Ghana in its last Group E qualifier in November. Egypt had already qualified before the game, prompting the Argentine coach to give Salah a rest.
Shikabala plays for Saudi Arabia club Al-Raed, his latest stop in a journey that has seen him play in Egypt, Greece, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates.
The Pharaohs play Portugal March 23 and Greece four days later. Both games will be played in Zurich, Switzerland.


A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

Updated 20 March 2019
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A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

  • Can the Whites and Green Falcons find the back of the net more often?
  • Both teams need to set the tone ahead of the important World Cup qualifiers.

LONDON: Ahead of Thursday’s friendly between the UAE and Saudi Arabia Arab News looks at the main priorities for both sides as they embark on their new eras after the Asian Cup and ahead of the all-important the World Cup qualifiers.

FIND THOSE SCORING BOOTS

For the past 18 months both sides have struggled for goals. Under Alberto Zaccheroni the UAE scored just 10 goals in the past nine matches — five of those coming against lowly Kyrgyzstan and India — and likewise the Green Falcons have also struggled to find the back of the net. Heading toward the World Cup qualifiers, now is the time to find those scoring boots.

PUT ON A SHOW

Both sides have technically gifted players, can keep the ball and at times trouble opposition defenses. But both have been too defensive, too safety-first and, at times, too dull. Football is supposed to be entertainment, and the friendlies ahead of the World Cup qualifiers might be no bad time to throw caution to the wind and see what the players can do in the final third.

SET THE TONE

As the modern cliche goes, a week is a long time in football. With all the sackings and player movements, it is not hard to see the kernel of truth in that overused saying. But, conversely, time can also move very fast in the “Beautiful Game.” It may be six months before the World Cup qualifiers begin, but it will be September before the coaches and players know it. Set the tone and tactics now and triumphs will be easier to come by then and, more importantly, further into the future.