CAIRO: Zamalek left-back Mohamed Abdul-Shafi, criticized for a string of lackluster displays, is relieved to have earned a call up to Egypt’s squad for next week’s friendly against Australia.
The 25-year-old was named in the Pharaohs’ roster for Wednesday’s international friendly despite failing to shine in Zamalek’s few past Egyptian Premier League games.
He we was also blamed for making a dreadful blunder that resulted in Niger’s sole goal during their stunning 1-0 victory over Egypt in the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Abdul-Shafi’s failure to control a tame pass allowed Moussa Maazou to steal possession and break clear before placing his shot past Essam Al-Hadari to give Niger a remarkable win.
"This call-up, which came after the Niger game, underlines the trust of coach Hassan Shehata in my abilities," Abdul-Shafi told FilGoal.com on Thursday.
"Joining the national team now is the best response to my doubters."
Abdul-Shafi was part of Egypt’s squad in their triumphant Nations Cup campaign last January in Angola.
He played second-fiddle to Ahly’s Sayed Moawad, making some substitute appearances and getting his name on the scoresheet in Egypt’s 4-0 semi-final defeat of North African rivals Algeria.
In the absence of the injured Moawad, Ismaili’s left-sided midfielder Ahmed Samir Farag was also called up for the Australia game.
Farag is one of Ismaili’s few consistent players as he has netted five league goals so far this season.