No problem with Salah: Egypt coach

Ahram Online , Monday 13 May 2024

Egypt's national team coach, Hossam Hassan, has dismissed any speculation regarding a strained relation with Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

Hossam Hassan
File Photo: Egypt s national team coach, Hossam Hassan. Photo courtesy of EFA.


Reports had suggested that Salah and the Pharaohs newly appointed coach were not on good terms, particularly after the player's absence from the national team camp in March.

Despite being included in the preliminary squad, the Liverpool forward missed the camp, opting to stay with his Premier League club to fully recover from a muscle injury.

Hassan clarified that Salah's absence was at the player's own request, emphasizing his significance to the Pharaohs.

However, he also affirmed that he cannot compel a player to join the national team.

"There is no problem with Salah," Hossam Hassan told a reporters on Monday.

"He is undeniably one of the best players in the world."

In addition, the Pharaohs coach rejected the notion that Egypt has been assured a place in the 2026 World Cup, emphasizing that the African football hierarchy has changed.

Egypt was drawn into a relatively easy qualifying group alongside Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Sierra Leone, leading to suggestions that they should face no major obstacles in securing their World Cup spot.

However, the 57-year-old coach refused to consider the group as an easy one.

Egypt, currently leading Group A with a perfect six points from victories over Djibouti (6-0) and Sierra Leone (2-0), will resume their World Cup qualifying campaign in June with matches against Burkina Faso and Guinea-Bissau.

The encounter with Burkina Faso, scheduled for 6 th June in Cairo, will mark Hossam Hassan's first competitive appearance as the coach of the Pharaohs.

He previously guided the Egyptian national team in two friendly matches during the Capital Cup, where they defeated New Zealand 1-0 but lost 4-2 to Croatia.

"Our recent results indicate the challenges facing Egyptian football," Hossam Hassan remarked.

"I reject any suggestion that our World Cup place is guaranteed. There are no easy teams, and the African football hierarchy has shifted."

He highlighted the fact that Egypt has only eight players based abroad compared to Burkina Faso's 28, and expressed concern that 75% of the national team players come from domestic clubs Ahly and Zamalek, while their opponents are not international players.

Hassan stressed that Egyptian football is going through a critical period in its history, facing setbacks against opponents.

He revealed that he met with Egypt U-23 coach Rogerio Micale to gain insights into the state of Egyptian football and suggested the need to reform the Egyptian Premier League system.

"We must reform the Egyptian Premier League system. In the past, the league produced many talented players, but now, if you ask about the stars of the league, you would only hear about Ahmed 'Zizo' Sayed and Emam Ashour," Hassan explained.

Regarding the upcoming training camp, Hassan expressed his desire for an early start to adequately prepare the players for the World Cup qualifiers.

He requested that the camp begin on May 28th instead of 3rd June, but Ahly declined to release their players before the initial date.

"I want to ensure my players are well-prepared. The quality of the players' daily training with their clubs is evident, as they struggle to complete three consecutive passes," he noted.

"I need more time, and without it, the consequences would be negative," he concluded.

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