Shehata: Giving others a chance
Egypt enter the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 with a partially depleted squad, having lost the services of key striker Amr Zaki just days before the tournament. While he decided to omit Mido from his tournament squad, coach Hassan Shehata believes that there are new faces who will serve as adequate replacements for the two strikers.
"The absence of Mido and Zaki is definitely a big chance for the young ones because otherwise it would be very unlikely that they would get an opportunity at this moment," said Shehata. "We have a popular saying that goes 'the problem of one is the benefit to others' and sometimes this is the way things happen."
The Egyptian coach, who will turn 62 next Friday, called Mohamed Abougrisha to replace Zaki ,while Abdelaziz Tawfik and Ahmed Said will participate in the FIFA Confederations Cup as well, having played just five games with the African champions.
"I cannot really say one single name," said Shehata, when asked to identify notable additions to his team. "I don't discern these new players from one another and I have called them based on their performances in Egypt. I look at them with the exact same eyes. Once they are here in the national team, all of them will have to prove they belong. They are the ones deciding their future with the Pharaohs."
However, Shehata still believes that playing in the FIFA Confederations Cup will be a challenge for the new players, given that they will play against the likes of FIFA World Cup™ holders Italy and five-time world champions Brazil.
"It is a challenge, but what happens is that players react differently to this kind of situation," he said. "That's why it's a test to all of them. Some may be able to build confidence out of playing against big teams, and will thus show that they can evolve step by step."
The experienced coach said that the quality of Ahmed Said and Mohamed Abogrisha enticed him to include the duo in his squad, following impressive league performances this year with Haras El Hedood and Ismaily respectively.
"These two players are in a very similar situation," he said. "Both have picked up a lot of confidence in this year's Egyptian League mainly because they have both played extremely well against big clubs like Al Ahly and Zamalek."
"If I thought they were not at the same level as the players they replace, then I wouldn't have called them and given them opportunities," Shehata said. "I know the strong and weak points they have and I hope to determine how best to use them."