Elmo ‘rested for Villa play-off bid’

By Graham Hill

AHMED Elmohamady’s absence from the Egypt squad to face Nigeria has been explained by the country’s top ranking officials.

The Egypt FA’s managing director Ehab Lehita says the Villa wide man is absent because Dean Smith’s side are chasing a place in the Championship play-offs.

Egypt have been forced to front up with fans keen to see players such as Liverpool’s Mo Salah – who is also missing from the squad.

West Brom central defender Ahmed Hegazi – as well as Elmohamady, 31 – were not in the traveling party.

Egypt’s decision not to disrupt their players domestic season by not making them travel to Nigeria’s Stephen Keshi Stadium is welcome news for Villa boss Dean Smith who does not want to risk any more of his players suffering injuries.

The All Nigeria Soccer website reported Lehita as saying: ’’Not only Salah is missing but three or four professional players that are not here also from the main 11 players, Hegazi, El Mohamady, Salah and locals also that are not coming.

”The coach decided to have this friendly match with Nigeria to try new players.

‘There are six or seven players new, so this is a good chance for them.”

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