Salah is no Messi or Ronaldo but we can win Africa Cup: Egypt's Elmohamady

Ahram Online , Wednesday 11 Jan 2017,
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Egypt
Egypt's Ahmed Elmohamady (right) congratulates goalscorer Mohamed Salah (left) (Reuters)

Egypt and Hull City winger Ahmed Elmohamady has expressed optimism about the Pharaohs ambitions to win back the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, praising his teammates who play abroad.

"After not qualifying for the last three Africa Cup of Nations, all the people in Egypt are looking forward to having their national team back in the tournament," the 29-year-old defender said in a long interview with the CNN published Tuesday.

"The biggest challenge is to show Africa that Egypt is back again. We are there to win the cup, not just to play and go back to Egypt. We want to show everyone what we've got. I'm looking forward to it. I feel we are going to win this cup."

After missing three successive tournaments, Egypt will take on Ghana, Mali and Uganda in Group D of the 2017 cup, taking place 14 January to 5 February.

Egypt hold a Nations Cup record, with seven titles to their name.

"Uganda are a good team, but no one expects them to do well… They are going to be a surprise in the competition."

Salah is no Messi or Ronaldo                         

Elmohamady praised his teammate Mohamed Salah of Italy's Roma, saying he is under a lot of pressure from over-the-top expectations.

"Everyone expects Mohamed Salah to score goals, to give a good performance every match. Of course it puts pressure on him, but he's dealing with it well. Hopefully he'll keep doing that, for him as a player and for the national team," the winger said.

"He's not yet a world-class player. He's a very good player, but he's not Ronaldo or Messi yet. I hope one day he will be. He needs to work harder and improve," he added.

On Stoke City's Ramadan Sobhi and Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny prospects, who were also called for the Gabon tournament, Elmohamady was hopeful.

"Ramadan is only 19; he had never been to Europe before. He came straight from Egypt to England, and I was in the same situation. So I spoke to both of them, and to be honest they are doing well," he said.

"Whenever Elneny plays for Arsenal he is great. Ramadan didn't play as much as everyone expected. But he's still young and his chances will come -- and he will take them because he is a very, very good player," he added.

English Premier League is the best

Elmohamady said he considers his experience in the English Premier League life-changing, saying it’s the best competition in the world.

"I think it is the best league in the world. It gives you loads of experience -- not just as a footballer but as a man. My experience in the Premier League is the best thing that has happened to me as a footballer."

"I like England," he added. "I think it's one of the best countries in the world. People here are very friendly. I would like to stay for as long as I can to finish my career here."

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports)

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3 0 0 9
Uganda
1 1 1 4
DR Congo
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Zimbabwe
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2 1 0 7
Nigeria
2 0 1 6
Guinea
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Burundi
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Group C W D L P
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Group D W D L P
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0 0 3 0
Group E W D L P
Mali
2 1 0 7
Tunisia
0 3 0 3
Angola
0 2 1 2
Mauritania
0 2 1 2
Group F W D L P
Ghana
1 2 0 5
Cameroon
1 2 0 5
Benin
0 3 0 3
Guinea Bissau
0 1 2 1