Egypt to use youth teams for the remaining qualifiers

Egypt celebrate winning the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola 2010
Egypt have won the Nations Cup three times in a row but are very unlikely to defend their crown in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon 2012

African champions Egypt seem to have given up hope of contesting the 2012 African Cup of Nations by choosing youth players for their remaining ties.

Olympic coach Hani Ramzy will take charge of the final Group G games in Sierra Leone and at home to Niger.

His squad has been taken from Egypt's Under-20 and Under-23 sides, with Ahmed Hassan the only veteran in the team.

South Africa lead Group G with eight points, six more than Egypt who have little hope of making January's finals.

Although they have a mathematical chance of defending their crown in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, the Pharaohs have admitted there is little hope of qualifying.

As a result, the Olympic team will contest next month's qualifier in Freetown and October's home clash against Niger.

Ramzy is preparing Egypt's side for December's decisive quailfying round in Africa's bid to reach the Olympics.

He had not been earmarked to take charge of the team on a full-time basis.

The Egyptian FA's recent shortlist comprising former United States coach Bob Bradley, ex-Colombia boss Francisco Maturana and Zoran Filipovic, the former national coach of Montenegro.

Meanwhile, the BBC's Inas Mazhar in Cairo says Hassan has been retained in a bid to help the midfielder gain the record number of caps in world football.

The 36-year-old currently boasts 175 caps, three behind joint record holders Mohamed Al-Deayea of Saudi Arabia and Mexico's Claudio Suarez - both of whom have retired.

Egypt won an unprecedented third Nations Cup title in a row at the last finals in Angola in 2010 and have an unprecedented seven titles overall, three more than Ghana and Cameroon.

However, the Pharaohs' 2012 qualifying campaign started with a surprise home draw against Sierra Leone, which was followed by a bigger shock as the side then led by Hassan Shehata lost in Niger.

South Africa, who top the group, beat them in Johannesburg in March and drew 0-0 in Cairo in June, after which the long-standing Shehata - who had won the last three Nations Cup titles - was fired.

Should they fail to qualify, Egypt will be absent from the Nations Cup for the first time since 1982.

The 2012 finals get underway in the Equatorial Guinean capital on 21 January, with the final to be played in the Gabonese capital Libreville on 12 February.

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