Coach Aguirre says has no plan to quit Egypt after AFCON; backs Salah for Ballon d'Or

The Pharaohs coach said he hasn’t thought about leaving the national team, praising star winger Mohamed Salah

Mahmoud Sheleib, Thursday 4 Jul 2019,
Egypt's coach Javier Aguirre gives his instructions during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match between Egypt and DR Congo at the Cairo International Stadium on June 26, 2019 (Photo: AFP)

Egyptian national team coach Javier Aguirre said that he has no plan to leave the Pharaohs in case of failing to win the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations title, backing Mohamed Salah to win the Ballon d'Or after winning the Champions League and Premier League's top scorer.

The Mexican coach described reports about his departure from Cairo as "not right" as he is now concentrating on the fight to win the African competition, according to an interview with Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.

"Everything depends on the people who have my contract. The (Egyptian) football association has all the freedom to sack me if they see it's convenient, and that's it. Nothing happened," Aguirre said.

"To say I'm leaving, I didn't do it, and I didn't think about it," the Pharaohs coach added.

Egypt will face South Africa in the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday at Cairo Stadium, after qualifying as Group A winners with a maximum nine points following wins over Zimbabwe, DR Congo and Uganda.

Egypt's last competitive games against South Africa were in the 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers, with the Bafana Bafana defeating them 1-0 at home before holding them to a 0-0 draw away.

Egypt won the 1998 Nations Cup in Burkina Faso after beating South Africa 2-0 in the final.

Salah for the Ballon d'Or

The 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup winner as Mexico coach, Aguirre praised his Liverpool winger, Mohamed Salah.

"He is exceptional and a very humble kid, with a very nice character with his colleagues," he revealed.

"I see him fighting for the Ballon d'Or. If he won, he holds the Champions League and the African Cup; no one can take it from him. He did not win the Premier League, but he was the top scorer alongside with Mané and Aubameyang. It's going to be hard for the people who decide," Aguirre explained.

The 27-year-old Salah joined Liverpool from AS Roma in July 2017 and won the 2018-2019 Champions League with his team. Among many individual honours, Salah was CAF Footballer of the Year in 2017 and 2018, Premier League Player of the Season 2017-2018, and took the Premier League Golden Boot in seasons 2017-2018, and 2018-2019.

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