April 19, 2024

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Injured Salah Targets Afcon Triumph with Determined Egypt

Mohamed Salah suffered an injury while playing for Egypt at the Afcon 2023

Mohamed Salah believes he will win the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) with Egypt “sooner or later”.

Liverpool forward Salah will miss his country’s next two games due to a muscle injury sustained in Thursday’s 2-2 draw with Ghana.

The Pharaohs must defeat Cape Verde in their final group game on Monday to ensure their qualification from the group stage.

“I would love to win it, absolutely,” Salah said. “It will happen somehow – that is what I believe.”

“Whatever I believe, I achieve – so sooner or later, it will happen.”

‘Everybody knows what it means’

Salah has won every major English trophy since joining the Reds before the 2017-18 season, including the 2018-19 Champions League, where he scored the opening goal in a 2-0 victory over Tottenham in the final.

The forward has suffered heartache in the three Afcon tournaments he has participated in, beginning with a loss to Cameroon in Gabon in the 2017 final, when Salah set up Egypt’s early opener before their opponents won with two second-half goals.

A late South African winner condemned Egypt to a round of 16 exits on home soil in 2019, and Salah did not have the opportunity to take his spot kick as hosts Cameroon won on penalties in the final of the 2021 tournament following a goalless draw.

“I’ve won everything possible except this one,” said Salah, whose international debut in 2011 came a year after Egypt won the final of their record seven Afcon titles and preceded a run of three tournaments in which they failed to qualify. “Everyone understands how much it means to any player to win the Africa Cup.

“We were unlucky at the last one and also in Gabon. The players are very motivated to win the tournament. We all want to win it.”

Rui Vitoria’s team needed Salah’s extra-time penalty to draw 2-2 with Mozambique in the first match of Afcon 2023 in Ivory Coast.

They then came from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Ghana after Salah was substituted with a back muscle strain shortly before halftime.

If Egypt defeats Cape Verde, who has already secured first place in Group B, they will advance to a last-16 match in San Pedro on January 28.

Salah has already been ruled out of that game and is expected to return for the quarter-finals on February 2 or 3, assuming Egypt advances that far.

“My injury is still there but the most important thing now is to speak about the game,” he said.

“We aren’t doing well right now, but we have a fantastic team and a great coach, so we just need to stay focused.”

“I believe that with hard work, anything is possible, so we only need to win one game to qualify and proceed from there.

“We are very positive. We have great players and a great team, so we just need to fight and see what happens.”

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