Egypt national team goalie Mohamed Abo Gabal has tested positive for COVID-19 and therefore ruled out of the Africa Cup of Nations, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) announced on Friday.
SportsDayOnline.com reports that the team’s goalkeepers’ coach Essam El-Hadary also tested positive and won’t be on the plane to Cameroon when the team departs on Saturday.
This is a setback for the Pharaohs who play the Super Eagles of Nigeria in their first group D game on Tuesday, January 11 before taking on Sudan and Guinea Bissau.
“PCR tests have showed that Abo Gabal and Essam El-Hadary have tested positive for COVID-19 and they will miss the trip to Cameroon to take part in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations,” read a statement by the EFA.
Meanwhile, the EFA called the Olympic team’s goalkeeping coach Tarek Soliman to join the Pharaohs’ crew as a replacement for El-Hadary.
Coach Carlos Queiroz has decided not to name another goalie to replace Abo Gabal as he will instead make use of the three previously named goalkeepers.
The Pharaohs’ final squad witnessed a recall of four goalkeepers including Ahly’s and Egypt first choice Mohamed El-Shennawy, Farco’s Mohamed Sobhy, Enppi’s Mahmoud Gad and Zamalek’s Mohamed Abo Gabal.
Their Portuguese coach had canceled Thursday’s training session/friendly with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) national team and postponed the Pharaohs’ flight to Cameroon until Saturday.
The Pharaohs underwent PCR tests on Thursday morning in preparation for the flight to Cameroon, which has been moved to Saturday morning to give the players enough time to rest before traveling.