Egypt's Salah asks players to enjoy AFCON final and fight for title

Ahead of the final game of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) against Senegal, Egypt and Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah asked his teammates to enjoy the match and to fight for the title.

Mahmoud Elassal , Saturday 5 Feb 2022,
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Mohamed Salah
Egypt s forward Mohamed Salah attends a press conference at the Olembe stadium in Yaounde on February 5, 2022 on the eve of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football final match between Senegal and Egypt. AFP

The Pharaohs are desperate to win a record-extending eighth crown, their first since 2010, when they face Senegal in the AFCON 2021 final at Stade Omnisport Paul Biya, Olembe stadium on Sunday.

“We are ready for the game; all the players are physically and psychologically ready for it,” Salah told the pre-game press conference on Saturday.

“The tournament was difficult for us as we suffered from injuries but we are finally well prepared for the game against Senegal and I hope to claim victory,”

“I asked the players to enjoy the final... and to fight for the title to please the Egyptian people who are waiting for this pleasure that could not be bought with money,” the Egyptian winger said.

The 29-year-old winger will face his Liverpool teammate and Senegal star Sadio Mane.

“It is difficult to face Senegal and Mane as we will be competitors on Sunday,” Salah told the press conference.

Egypt last reached the AFCON final in the 2017 edition where they lost to Cameroon.

“There is a difference between the current edition of the African Cup of Nations and the 2017 edition as we suffered from injuries and fatigue and we made more changes to our playing positions during it,” the Liverpool star said.

“To win the best player in the world award or not is not the matter, I am only concentrating on winning the Cup title for Egypt,”

“It is a special thing for me to win a title with Egypt as I already won the UEFA Champions League and English Premier League titles with Liverpool, but if I claim the African Cup of Nations, it will be a brilliant feeling for me and I hope to enjoy it and breakdown the bad luck,” Salah said.

Egypt will do without Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz who has been suspended for two games by CAF after he was sent off during the 3-1 on penalties victory over Cameroon in the semifinal on Thursday.

“It is a sad news for us to play without coach Queiroz, but we will concentrate only on the game and I will do my best to speak with the players to achieve all what he said,”

“I am confident that we will celebrate with our coach by the end of the game,” the Egypt star winger Salah said.

The Egyptian national team started its campaign in the AFCON with a 0-1 loss to Nigeria in the group stage before making a brilliant comeback by defeating both Guinea Bissau and Sudan 1-0, reaching the tournament’s round of 16 as the runners-up in Group D.

Egypt then defeated topflight Cote d’Ivoire 5-4 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in Stade Japoma stadium and then beat Morocco 2-1 in the quarterfinal, which led to last Thursday’s semi-final crunch showdown with hosts Cameroon.

They defeated the Indomitable Lions 3-1 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in Yaounde, booking themselves a spot in the AFCON’s final late on Thursday.

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

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Group A W D L P
Cameroon
2 1 0 7
Burkina Faso
1 1 1 4
Cape Verde
1 1 1 4
Ethiopia
0 1 2 1
Group B W D L P
Senegal
1 2 0 5
Guinea
1 1 1 4
Malawi
1 1 1 4
Zimbabwe
1 0 2 3
Group C W D L P
Morocco
2 1 0 7
Gabon
1 2 0 5
Comoros
1 0 2 3
Ghana
0 1 2 1
Group D W D L P
Nigeria
3 0 0 9
Egypt
2 0 1 6
Sudan
0 1 2 1
Guinea Bissau
0 1 2 1
Group E W D L P
Cote d Ivoire
2 1 0 7
Equatorial Guinea
2 0 1 6
Sierra Leone
0 2 1 2
Algeria
0 1 2 1
Group F W D L P
Mali
2 1 0 7
Gambia
2 1 0 7
Tunisia
1 0 2 3
Mauritania
0 0 3 0