Sunday,22 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1270, (12 - 18 November 2015)
Sunday,22 October, 2017
Issue 1270, (12 - 18 November 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Our man is out

Egypt suffers a huge blow as Salah is injured before Chad games, reports Marawan Zayed

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Star man Mohamed Salah will miss both World Cup qualifiers against Chad and could even be out for two months after being the victim of a horrific challenge in his club Roma’s 2-0 against Lazio in Serie A on Sunday. Salah left the pitch in the 58th minute on the club car as he could not stand on his injured right ankle. As a result, Salah, who has scored five goals in 11 league appearances this season for Roma, will miss Egypt’s two legs against Chad in the first African qualifying round for the 2018 World Cup.

The first game will be played on 14 November while the second leg will be played just three days later which gives Salah absolutely no time to recover.  

Egypt faced Chad two months ago away from home in the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifying game and the Egyptian national team ran out rampant winners as the game ended 5-1. Argentinian coach Hector Cuper will hope to see more of the same from his team in the next two games and will hope that in-form Ahmed Hassan Kouka can guide the national side to a win in the absence of superstar Salah. Kouka has been on fire in recent games with Braga as well as bagging a brace in Egypt’s friendly game against Zambia last month.

Cuper also had good news for Ahly’s captain Hossam Ghali who was named in the squad after a long absence from the national team. Ghali will be hoping to get a place in the starting lineup after a series of extremely impressive displays for his club including a man of the match performance against Zamalek in the Super Cup. Another player who will be expected to shine in both games will be Zamalek’s Kahraba who is also on a terrific run of form since joining the White Knights at the end of last season.

Egypt’s biggest challenge will be overcoming the appointment of Cameroonian legend Rigobert Song as the new manager of Chad. Song will lead out his team for the first time against Egypt hoping to cause an upset after seeing his team walloped by the Pharaohs in September as a hat-trick from in-form striker Bassem Morsi helped Egypt hammer the soccer minnows.

The absence of Salah will surely please Song big time but star names such as Ghali, Kahraba, Kouka, Mo’men Zakaria and Morsi should be able to make up for the loss of Salah.

The surprise omissions from the squad included names like Ramadan Sobhi, Walid Suleiman, Emad Meteb and Ahmed Al-Mohamadi who was the biggest shock of all. The passing up of Al-Mohamadi was unexpected given that the Egyptian star is playing exceptionally well for Hull City at the moment and was involved in five goals in the last five games as he assisted four and scored one. Cuper’s assistant Osama Nabih said that Al-Mohamadi’s omission was purely for tactical reasons which did not go down well with Al-Mohamadi who said that he was being treated “like a kid” by the national side and not as one of Egypt’s finest overseas players.

Let’s hope that Kouka, Ghali and co can lead Egypt to an expected win against Chad which will see us qualify for six four-team groups, with the winners of these groups qualifying for the World Cup in Russia.

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