Midfielder Mohamed Abou Trika became the ninth Egyptian footballer to reach the 100-cap milestone when he lined up against Guinea Tuesday in a World Cup qualifier.
Although one of the greatest footballers produced by Africa, the 34-year has never played for a European club, preferring seven-time African champions Al-Ahly for most of his career.
An attacking midfielder in the twilight of a career that has brought many individual and team honours, Abou Trika still dreams of a first appearance at the World Cup tournament.
Egypt have already won Group G with five consecutive victories, giving them an unassailable five-point lead over Guinea ahead of the final mini-league fixture at Red Sea resort El-Gouna.
The Pharaohs are set to face Ivory Coast, Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria or Cape Verde in a two-leg play-off during October and November, and the winners qualify for Brazil.
Abou Trika has been voted CAF Africa-based Footballer of the Year three times and was a key figure when Egypt won the 2006 and 2008 Cup of Nations titles.
A man with strong views, he was yellow carded during the 2008 Africa Cup for lifting his shirt and displaying “Sympathise with Gaza”.on his t-shirt.
He has also criticised Egyptian journalists for praising individual players, stressing that football is a team game.
“We need to stop this habit of praising a definite player. It is not Abou Trika who won the match, but the whole team.
“Without the efforts of my team-mates, I cannot make anything. Football is a game of many players, it is not tennis or squash.”
Former Egypt midfielder Ahmed Hassan is the most capped footballer with 184 national team appearances, six more than retired Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Deayea.
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