Egypt players celebrate scoring a goal in the 4-0 win over Comoros on Monday (Photo: EFA)
Egypt’s coach Hossam El-Badry has praised the Pharaohs' in-form midfielder Mohamed Elneny after he relayed the armband to Liverpool star winger Mohamed Salah in the 4-0 victory against Comoros on Monday.
The Pharaohs made amends for their poor display in the 1-1 away draw against Kenya last week, delivering an outstanding performance in the last round of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers, claiming the top spot of Group G with 12 points.
Arsenal midfielder Elneny was on the spot on Monday after scoring the opener for Egypt after just 15 minutes, before opting to give the armband to Liverpool star winger Mohamed Salah later in the game despite being the second in the senior players’ list.
Salah wore Egypt's armband for the first time of his career, as skipper Amr El-Sulaya left the pitch in the 71st minute.
“Elneny’s decision to give the armband to Salah is a very good one and reflects how both players are valuable for the national team,” El-Badry told ON Time Sports TV channel after the match.
After El-Badry’s appointment in September 2019, the national team’s captaincy stirred some controversy amid reports at the time that the new coach wanted to change the tradition of the captain's armband, preferring to give the armband to Liverpool’s Salah.
El-Badry quickly reacted at the time to silence critics; stressing that Egypt's captain armband will continue to be worn, as per tradition, by the most senior player in the team.
No rift with Elneny
After the draw with Kenya, some reports in Egyptian media claimed that the Gunners’ player was asked to warm up at the break but declined, these claims were refuted by his agent Alaa Nazmy on Saturday, however.
El-Badry, who used four central midfielders during the game, while Elneny kept warming the bench, was also eager to deny any rift with the former Basel FC player.
“Elneny wanted to clear the situation for the media, but I asked him to concentrate only and to neglect these rumors,” explained the former Ahly coach and player El-Badry.
The seven-time African champions, Egypt, have qualified to the 2021 AFCON after winning three matches and drawing in the other three of the qualifiers.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)