Egypt U-20 national team coach, Mahmoud Gaber, has called up four foreign-based players to bolster his squad ahead of next month’s Africa U-20 Cup of Nations.

The 2023 U-20 AFCON tournament will be played in Egypt between February 19 and March 11 with the top four teams qualifying for the U-20 World Cup in Indonesia in May.

The young Pharaohs, who are drawn alongside Senegal, Nigeria and Mozambique in Group A, are aiming to lift their first continental title since 2013.

Gaber drafted in FC Vizela goalkeeper Ahmed Nader El-Sayed, Udinese forward Salah Basha, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Mostafa Ashraf and Hoffenheim defender Tebo Gabriel to the team.

Hamburg’s playmaker Omar Magueed has withdrawn from the squad due to injury.

Meanwhile, the Flying Eagles should not expect any favours next month, especially from U-20 AFCON hosts Egypt, who look desperate to qualify for the U-20 World Cup in Indonesia.

Egypt have allegedly tampered with the opening day fixtures of the U-20 AFCON as they plan to go past a tough first round group that has Nigeria, Senegal and Mozambique.

Hosts Egypt were seeded to head Group A as A1 and according to the standard, A1 will face A3, which is this case Senegal, while A2 Mozambique take on A4 Nigeria on opening day February 19.

But the current fixtures in Group A show that Egypt will open the tournament with Mozambique, the weakest team in their group on paper.

The Flying Eagles will therefore have to tackle fellow West African rivals Senegal on the opening day, three hours after the host country has played.

The top two teams in each of the three groups will qualify for the quarter-finals, with two other best losers from these groups.

The four semi-finalists will qualify for the U-20 World Cup in Indonesia in May.

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