Zamalek's under-fire keeper named in squad for Sundowns final despite injury
Zamalek Aly Salama (CL) is watched by Mamelodi Sundowns Wayne Arendse (L) Hlompho Kekena (CR) and Asavela Mbekile (R) during the first length of the CAF Championship final on October 15, 2016 at Atteridgville Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa. AFP PHOTO/STRINGER STRINGER / AFP
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Under-fire goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shennawi has been named in Zamalek's squad for the African Champions League final against Mamelodi Sundowns on Sunday despite still suffering from an injury he picked up in the first leg.
The 25-year-old, who has come in for fierce criticism after being caught out of position when a cross-cum-shot gave Sundowns a 2-0 lead in the first leg last Saturday, was substituted in the second half due to a muscle strain, making way for Mahmoud Gennesh.
Zamalek's doctor told reporters on Tuesday that El-Shennawi is racing against time to be fully fit for the second leg, which will take place at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium with limited crowd attendance.
El-Shennawi was also criticised by the Zamalek supporters after another poor display in a stunning 5-2 second-leg defeat by Morocco's Wydad Casablanca in the semi final, although the Cairo giants eventually reached the final with a 6-5 aggregate win.
His shaky performances between the sticks have prompted Egypt coach Hector Cuper to relegate him to the bench and field veteran 43-year-old keeper Essam El-Hadary in the 2-1 victory away to Congo in the Pharaohs' opening Group E clash of the World Cup qualifiers earlier this month.
Five-time African champions Zamalek, who last won the title in 2002, have a daunting task ahead of them after slumping to a 3-0 loss to Sundowns, who are on the verge of lifting their first Champions League trophy.