Just one Cuper surprise in 29 strong squad

Egypt coach Hector Cuper has named 29 players on a provisional list with a six further names on standby, from which he must submit a final list of 23 must to Fifa by 4 June.

The Argentine has omitted Hussein Al Shahat from the squad despite the Al Ain star being voted Player of the Season in the UAE on Friday.

Cuper said he has to make some hard decisions.

"We compared him with his team mates, and we decided not call him," Cuper explained.

"He was only with us in the last camp, so he doesn't know the way we play very well so we preferred not call him.

"If I picked him I would have had to ignore Mo Salah, Ramadan Sobhi or Mahmoud 'Trezeguet' Hassan.

"It's impossible to make all the fans and journalists happy, when I drop any player from the squad that makes me very sad but I work for the team."

As well as winning the fan's vote for Player of the Year the 26-year-old was named in the Arabian Gulf League's Dream Team of the Year.

He only moved to Al Ain in January initially on loan from Egyptian side Masr El Makasa and is set to make a permanent switch in July.

The forward has scored nine goals in 16 appearances for Al Ain, who were crowned UAE champions in April.

Veteran Essam El-Hadary's hopes of being the oldest player ever at the World Cup finals are still alive after he was one of four keepers named by Cuper.

If the 45-year-old does play in Russia he will surpass the record held by Faryd Mondragon, who played at 43 for Colombia in 2014.

Egypt have three friendly matches lined up against Kuwait on 26, Colombia on 1 June and Belgium five days later.

The Pharaohs have been drawn in group A alongside hosts Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay, and will kick off their World Cup campaign on 15 June against Uruguay.

Egypt Provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Essam El-Hadary (Taawoun, Saudi Arabia), Mohamed El-Shennawi (Al Ahly), Sherif Ekramy (Al Ahly), Mohamed Awaad (Ismaily)

Defenders: Ahmed Fathi (Ahly), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa, England), Omar Gaber (Los Angeles FC, USA), Mohamed Abdel-Shafi (Al-Fateh, Saudi Arabia), Saad Samir (Ahly), Ahmed Hegazi and Ali Gabr (West Bromwich Albion, England), Ayman Ashraf (Ahly), Karim Hafiz (Lens, France), Amro Tarek (Orlando City, USA), Mahmoud "El-Winsh" Hamdy (Zamalek).

Midfielders: Shikabala (Al-Raed, Saudi Arabia.), Abdallah El-Said (KuPS, Finland), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal, England), Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Mahmoud Kahraba (Ittihad Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.), Mahmoud "Trezeguet" Hassan (Kasimpasa, Turkey), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City, England), Sam Morsy (Wigan, England), Amr Warda (Atromitos, Greece), Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz (Zamalek).

Forwards: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, England), Marwan Mohsen (Ahly), Ahmed Koka (Sporting Braga, Portugal), Ahmed Gomaa (Masry)

Standby players: Goalkeeper Amer Amer (Entag El-Harby keeper), Walid Soliman (Al Ahly) Hossam Ashour (Al Ahly), Hamada Tolba (Alassiouty Sport), Momen Zakaria (Al Ahly on loan at Al Ahly Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) Amr Gamal (Al Ahly on loan at HJK Helsinki, Finland)

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