‘We are ready to compensate for Salah's absence’: Egypt midfielder Marwan Attia

Ahram Online , Saturday 27 Jan 2024

Egypt's midfielder Marwan Attia expressed his belief that the absence of star winger Mohamed Salah will have an impact on the national team but emphasized that the Pharaohs are fully prepared to progress to the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2023).

Marwan Attia


Salah was ruled out of the knockout stages with a hamstring injury sustained in Egypt's game against Ghana, leaving a sizeable void in their attacking ranks.

However, Attia, speaking at the pre-match press conference ahead of their last-16 clash against DR Congo on Sunday, remained confident of the team's collective strength.

"We are well-prepared for the match," said the 25-year-old Ahly midfielder who is playing in his first-ever AFCON.

"It's a big one, and there are no easy games in Africa anymore. The continent has seen huge strides in football, and we are fully focused on winning and reaching the quarter-finals."

He acknowledged the impact of Salah's absence but highlighted the team's resolve to dig deeper and rise to the occasion.

"Salah is a world-class player and our captain, so of course his absence is significant," Attia conceded. "If there's a chance for him to recover quickly, it would be in the best interests of the national team, but for now, we wish him a speedy return."

Attia was jolted by the surprise exits of tournament favourites Tunisia and Algeria in the group stage, serving as a stark reminder of the competition's unpredictable nature.

"The elimination of Tunisia and Algeria was a shock to everyone," Attia admitted. "It serves as a warning to all teams, including ourselves. The knockout stage demands even more from us, but we are ready to give our all, fight for the win, and qualify."

The winner of Sunday's encounter between Egypt and DR Congo will face either Equatorial Guinea or Guinea in the quarter-finals, with the Pharaohs determined to keep their title hopes alive despite the setback of losing their star player.

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