CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt trimmed four players from their preliminary list as they finalised their 23-man squad for the African Nations Cup finals in Gabon, but they included record-breaking goalkeeper Essam El Hadary who turns 43 this month.
If he plays, the goalkeeper will easily become the oldest competitor in Nations Cup finals history, beating the 2006 record of 39-year-old compatriot Hossam Hassan.
On Wednesday, coach Hector Cuper left out Al Masry defender Hamada Tolba and midfielder Ahmed Gomaa, Zamalek midfielder Mohamed Ibrahim and Ismaili goalkeeper Mohamed Awad from those called up for preparations.
Last month, he sprang a surprise by omitting Zamalek striker Bassem Morsi, who had been in the starting line-up for Egypt in their last two World Cup qualifiers in October and November.
Only four of the squad remain from Egypt’s last participation in the finals, when they won the title for the third time in a row in 2010. They are El Hadary, Ahmed Elmohamady, Mohamed Abdelshafi and Ahmed Fathi.
Egypt, who have missed out on the last three Nations Cup tournaments, play in Group D in Port Gentil and open their campaign on Jan. 17 against Mali.
Goalkeepers: Sherif Ekramy (Al Ahly), Essam El Hadary (Wadi Degla), Ahmed El Shennawi (Zamalek)
Defenders: Mohamed Abdelshafi (Al Ahly Jeddah), Ahmed Dwidar (Zamalek), Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City), Ahmed Fathi (Ahly), Omar Gaber (FC Basle), Ali Gabr (Zamalek), Karim Hafez (Racing Lens), Ahmed Hegazy, Saad Samir (both Al Ahly)
Midfielders: Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Abdallah El Said (Al Ahly), Mahmoud Trezeguet Hassan (Royal Mouscron-Peruwelz), Tarek Hamed, Ibrahim Salah (both Zamalek), Amr Warda (Panetolikos)
Forwards: Mahmoud Abdelmoneim Kahraba (Al Ahly Jeddah), Ahmed Hassan Kouka (Sporting Braga), Marwan Mohsen (Al Ahly), Mohamed Salah (Roma), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City).
Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Clare Fallon