CAIRO: Ahly keeper Sherif Ekrami stated that he wouldn’t mind playing second fiddle to Egypt’s first-choice guardian Essam Al-Hadari, unlike what Hassan Shehata had earlier claimed.
When asked why he left Ekrami out of Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Niger, Egypt boss Shehata said the 27-year-old would agree to get back in the Pharaohs’ fold only as a starter.
However, the former Feyenoord goalie assured that he’s eager to be brought back to the international stage, saying he has no problem being Al-Hadari’s deputy.
He also revealed the reason why Shehata got the wrong idea.
"When I used to play for Feyenoord, I was getting call-ups without making the squad," Ekrami explained to FilGoal.com.
"Before Egypt’s game with Burundi in 2006, I just asked to be included in the squad because it was rather embarrassing to leave Feyenoord and eventually not be named for the match.
"But that doesn’t necessarily mean I insisted on playing regularly. I knew that Al-Hadari was at his best at the time. Besides, I would never make such a request, not even on club level."
Ekrami hasn’t been called up to Egypt since making a rare appearance in a friendly game against Uruguay in 2006.
"I’d love to get back to the national team. I wouldn’t mind being a deputy guardian," added the son of Ahly great and former keeper Ekrami.