Egypt will have to do without key defender Rami Rabia in the upcoming African Nations Cup finals after he suffered a training ground injury on Christmas Day.

He will be out for six weeks after hurting his ankle, said a statement from Al Ahly.
It is expected to be a serious blow to coach Hector Cuper’s hopes for the Pharaohs at the tournament in Gabon, where they have a tough group with Ghana, Mali and Uganda.

Rabia had just returned from a serious knee injury that kept him out of action for a long spell.

He made two appearances after recovering from the knee injury – coming on as a late substitute in a 3-1 league win over Al Masry before playing the full 90 minutes against lower-tier Aluminum in the Egypt Cup last week.

Fellow Ahly defender Ahmed Hegazy, who usually partners Rabia in the heart of Egypt’s defence, resumed training on Sunday after recovering from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for a fortnight.