EFA still considering Liverpool's request regarding late release of Salah for AFCON

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Wednesday 8 Dec 2021

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) confirmed on Wednesday they received a request from Liverpool to delay the departure of star winger Mohamed Salah for the African Cup of Nations; stressing it is still under consideration, the EFA’s Spokesman Osama Ismail revealed.

Mohamed Salah
Liverpool s Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah looks on as he warms up prior to the UEFA Champions League Group B football match between AC Milan and Liverpool on December 7, 2021 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. ( AFP)

“We already received the request. It is still under consideration, and no answer has been given yet,” Ismail told Ahram Online.

English newspaper The Guardian reported late on Friday that Liverpool have approached the Egyptian and Senegalese football associations over the possibility of their key forwards Salah and Sadio Mane reporting late for the prestigious tournament.

National team director Wael Gomaa told Ahram Online on Saturday that Egypt’s coach Carlos Queiroz has not made a decision yet regarding Liverpool’s request.

Egypt will play at the 2021 African Cup of Nations that is scheduled to be held in Cameroon between 9 January and 6 February.

According to the FIFA’s regulations, international players are supposed to be allowed to join their national teams by their clubs 14 days before the major tournaments.

Salah is supposed to leave to answer the call of international duty after facing Leeds United on 26 December, but Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp is eager to keep the Egyptian star to play two more crucial games against Leicester on 28 December and Chelsea on 2 January, The Guardian explained.

“It has not been decided yet. I am an optimistic person. So, I’m hoping for it, but it’s not written in stone and not completely in our hands,” the Liverpool coach was quoted as saying by the English newspaper.

Salah, 29, is enjoying a brilliant start with the Reds in the Premier League’s new season; netting twice in Thursday’s 4-1 win over Everton to take his tally to 13 league goals in 14 matches played so far.

The former Chelsea and AS Roma player currently leads the Premier League’s top scorers’ chart with 13 goals, four ahead of second placed Jamie Vardy of Leicester City.

The Pharaohs are currently participating in the FIFA Arab Cup in Qatar’s Doha; reaching the quarterfinals as Group D’s leaders after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Algeria in the last round of the group stage.

Egypt is set for a quarter-final meeting with Jordan on Saturday.

Salah is not participating in the Arab Cup as Portuguese coach Queiroz didn’t call any of the foreign-based players in his squad given the tournament falls outside of the normal international calendar.

Under the guidance of Queiroz, Egypt recently secured a place in the final qualifying round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, which will be played next March in a two-legged form against another group leader.

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