Mohamed Zidan has been recalled to the Egypt squad for their crucial final FIFA World Cup™ qualifying match against Algeria next month, while Abdul-Zaher Al-Saqqa is back in the mix for the first time in over two years.
Borussia Dortmund striker Zidan, who last played for the Pharaohs in their third match of the qualifying phase against Rwanda during July, was involved in a much-publicised row with coach Hassan Shehata after opting out of a friendly with Guinea in August. He was subsequently dropped for the return game against the Rwandans and tie in Zambia last month, but has now reportedly apologised, prompting his return to the 25-man squad.
Al-Saqqa is also back in the fold and is set to feature for the first time since playing in a friendly in mid-2007. The Eskisehirspor defender, who turns 36 in January, will deputise for suspended defender Wael Gomaa, who is named in the team despite his one-match ban.
Zamalek goalkeeper Abdul-Wahed Al-Sayed is also included and so is Emad Meteb, back in the fold for the first time since suffering a knee injury last April, but there is no place for Zamalek frontman Mido.
The African champions currently trail Group C leaders Algeria by three points and must win the final game in Cairo by at least two goals to keep their chances of qualifying for a first FIFA World Cup since 1990 alive.
FIFA recently announced that if Shehata's team do win by two clear goals - meaning the two north African giants will be inseparable at the summit - a play-off at a neutral venue will have to be played. A loss or victory by a single goal will put the Egyptians out.