Egypt team doctor Mohamed Abouleila has confirmed that midfielders Abdalla El-Said and Mostafa Fathi are unlikely to be fit in time for the Pharaohs’ crunch World Cup qualifier against Congo on Sunday.
The news was better, however, for Ittihad Jeddah forward Mahmoud Kahraba and Al-Ahly defensive-midfielder Hossam Ashour, both of whom are on pace to be available for the match at Alexandria’s Borg Al-Arab Stadium.
Rumors had been swirling within some media circles that El-Said’s injury was light enough not to threaten his status for Sunday’s match.
Egypt manager Hector Cuper has relied on the 32-year-old to man the attacking midfielder role in his system since taking the Pharaohs’ reins in 2015.
Among the favorites to replace him are Stoke City winger Ramadan Sobhi and Al-Ahly central midfielder Saleh Gomaa.
Despite Sobhi typically playing on the left wing, many believe he’s a more natural fit in the playmaking role.
Gomaa, meanwhile, has mostly only featured as a substitute for the Cairo giants in recent matches.
Egypt needs to beat Congo to keep its World Cup 2018 fate in its own hands.
A win would be enough for the Pharaohs to qualify outright for next year’s finals in Russia if Ghana gets a positive result in Uganda on Saturday.