Mo Salah in action against Gabon (Photo: The Egyptian FA s official Facebook page)
Pictures of a bodyguard keeping a close watch on Salah during Egypt's 2-1 home victory over Gabon on Tuesday went viral, with many wondering whether the Liverpool star had requested extra protection.
Egypt's previous qualifier away to Angola, which ended in a 2-2 draw, was interrupted three times after some fans invaded the pitch and approached Salah.
The EFA said in a statement that hiring private security was its own decision, and that it was not based on any requests by the players.
"The association wanted to ensure that no player is exposed to any kind of friction, especially in light of the spread of COVID-19," the statement read.
"The special interest that surrounded Salah was normal, especially after the game against Angola was stopped more than once because some fans wanted to take pictures with Salah, given his status as one of the world's most prominent football stars."
The EFA also said it rejects the criticism directed at the association in this regard. Salah has not commented on the matter.
Salah started on the bench in the dead-rubber against Gabon before being introduced in the second half.
Egypt finished on top of Group F with 14 points, seven clear of second-placed Gabon. They will meet a yet-to-be-determined opponent in a two-legged playoff in March for a place at the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.
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