Egypt officials voice dissatisfaction with Liverpool's early announcement of Salah's departure

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Tuesday 23 Jan 2024

Egyptian national team officials have voiced their dissatisfaction with Liverpool's early announcement that the team’s skipper Mohamed Salah would be leaving the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) camp to return to England for rehabilitation.

Mohamed Salah
Egypt s Mohamed Salah receives medical treatment during the African Cup of Nations Group B soccer match between Egypt and Ghana in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Thursday, Jan.18, 2024. AP


The 31-year-old suffered a hamstring injury during Egypt's 2-2 draw against Ghana on Thursday, and the team's doctor revealed that he would be out for around a week, meaning he would miss the Cape Verde clash and the round of 16 if Egypt advanced.

In a news conference before Egypt clash against Cap Verde, Salah mentioned that a joint statement between the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) and Liverpool would be issued shortly.

However, Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp suddenly announced that Salah would be departing the camp immediately to complete his rehabilitation with the Premier League club.

Klopp's announcement sparked controversy among Egyptians, raising questions about Salah's commitment to the national team.

The country's football governing body and technical staff faced heavy criticism as they were expected to provide the details, not Liverpool.

Egypt coach Rui Vitoria expressed his frustration with Liverpool's early announcement.

"Before the game, we did not want to say anything.” Vitoria told AFP.

“Meanwhile, everything was in the control of our excellent medical team. We didn't want to alarm anyone. I didn't think it was right for Liverpool, via any intermediary, to speak about this because we had a tremendously important game today," referring to Klopp's behavior.

On Monday, Liverpool issued an update stating that Salah's injury was worse than initially feared.

The club added that Salah would work with their medical staff upon his return to Merseyside, aiming to return to action as soon as possible for both club and country, giving him the best chance to compete in AFCON if Egypt continues to advance.

Despite Vitoria's anger at Liverpool's early announcement, the Portuguese coach believes that Salah's departure to England is the best solution for a speedy recovery. He mentioned that considering the travel, temperatures, and change of city, it makes sense for Salah to have a place where he can recover quickly.

Ehab Elkomy, a board member of Egypt's FA, shared Vitoria's view, revealing that the initial agreement between FA officials and Liverpool was to make the announcement after the Cape Verde game.

Elkomy emphasized that all board members agreed on Salah's departure for the best treatment, defending the player's situation.

The national team doctor, Mohamed Abou Elela, also expressed his disappointment with Klopp's statements, stating that the Premier League club violated the agreement regarding the timing of Salah's departure announcement.

He emphasized the coordination with Liverpool's medical team from the beginning and the efforts made with Salah's treatment. The doctor further highlighted the need for more support for the national team and expressed hope for Salah's quick recovery.

Salah is reportedly set to leave the Pharaohs' camp in Cote d'Ivoire within hours to continue his rehabilitation at the Premier League club. In the round of 16, scheduled for Sunday, Egypt is set to face the runners-up of Group F, which includes Morocco, Tanzania, Zambia, and DR Congo.

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