Ask FIFA why it chose Grozny as training base, Egypt director tells critics

Ahram Online , Sunday 24 Jun 2018,
Egypt's players during training (Photo: REUTERS)

Egypt director hit back at criticism of the national team's choice of Grozny as a training base during their World Cup campaign, saying FIFA is the body that should be asked any questions related to that matter.

The national team stirred controversy over its choice to stay in the Chechen capital, given the much-criticised human rights record of the Russian region.

The Egyptian team came under further scrutiny when Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov hosted a farewell dinner for the Pharaohs on Friday, giving star forward Mohamed Salah an honorary citizenship.

"It's all down to (world governing body) FIFA, which put Grozny as one of the options for Egypt to choose from as a training base during the World Cup," team director Ihab Leheita said on Sunday.

"By the way, Grozny was a perfect place for us to focus (on football) and steer away from any problem; it was suitable for us to prepare well for our World Cup games."

Leheita also vehemently denied a CNN report saying Liverpool forward Salah was "considering quitting the Egyptian national team due to his unhappiness over what has happened in Chechnya."

"You can ask the CNN about its source for this false news. Salah is training normally … and is ready to play against Saudi Arabia with his typical high spirit. This means there are no problems whatsoever."

Salah missed Egypt's opening 1-0 loss to Uruguay due to a shoulder injury but played in the 3-1 defeat by Russia last week, scoring the Pharaohs' only goal from a second-half penalty.

Salah, who is also expected to face Saudi Arabia in Egypt's final Group A game, netted 34 goals in 58 international appearances.

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