Veteran Egyptian Striker Hassan Selected For Record-Equalling Appearance in African Nations Cup

CAIRO (Reuters) - Veteran striker Hossam Hassan has been included in Egypt's squad for the African Nations Cup finals 20 years after he first played at the tournament.

The 39-year-old was named in a squad of 23 by coach Hassan Shehata on Tuesday and will make a record-equalling seventh appearance in the finals.

Formerly the world's most-capped international the fiery striker got a surprise recall for friendlies against Gabon Zimbabwe and Senegal's under-20 side in Cairo in the last fortnight.

Shehata told reporters in that Hassan's experience and image as the team's elder statesman had persuaded him to select the player.

But he made it clear that Hassan who has 165 caps would not start the opening Group A match against Libya on Jan. 20.

Hassan played for Egypt as a teenager when they last hosted the Nations Cup finals in 1986 although he featured in just one game at the tournament and did not play in the final when Egypt beat Cameroon on penalties.

He also appeared at subsequent finals in 1988 1992 1998 2000 and 2002. In 1998 he was named the tournament's best player and finished joint top goal scorer as Egypt won the last of their four titles.

Hassan could have had more Nations Cup appearances but in 1990 Egypt elected to send a second string team to the tournament in Algeria while their first choice players prepared for the World Cup finals in Italy.

Ten years ago Hassan was considered too old to be part of a youthful squad picked by then coach Ruud Krol for the 1996 finals in South Africa.

The record of seven Nations Cup finals appearances is held by Ivorian goalkeeper Alain Gouamene who will be his country's goalkeeping coach at the upcoming event in Egypt which begins on Jan. 20.

Egyptian squad:

Goalkeepers: Mohamed Abou Moncef (Zamalek) Essam Al Hadari (Al Ahli) Abdelwahed El Sayed (Zamalek).

Defenders: Mohamed Abdelwahab (Al Ahli) Abdelzaher El Saqqa (Konyaspor Turkey) Ahmed El Sayed (Al Ahli) Tarek El Sayed (Zamalek) Ahmed Fathi (Ismaili) Wael Gomaa (Al Ahli) Ibrahim Said (Zamalek).

Midfielders: Hosni Abd Rabou (Racing Strasbourg France) Mohamed Aboutrika Mohamed Barakat (both Al Ahli) Ahmed Eid Abdelmalek (Harras Al Hodoud) Ahmed Hassan (Besiktas Turkey) Hassan Mostafa Mohamed Shawki (both Al Ahli).

Strikers: Abdelhalim Ali (Zamalek) Hossam Hassan (Al Masry) Osama Hosni (Al Ahli) Ahmed 'Mido' Hossam (Tottenham Hotspur England) Emad Moteab (Al Ahli) Amr Zaki (ENPPI).