Mohamed Salah to miss Egypt's next two Afcon games

Muscle strain means Egypt captain misses final Group B game against already-qualified Cape Verde on Monday and, if they progress, their last-16 tie as well

Egypt's forward #10 Mohamed Salah reacts during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2024 group B football match between Egypt and Ghana at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on January 18, 2024.  (Photo by Issouf SANOGO  /  AFP)
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Record seven-time champions Egypt have given an update on injured captain Mohamed Salah, saying the Liverpool forward will miss the next two games of the African Cup of Nations.

Salah, 31, sparked fears of a potentially lengthy lay-off after limping off in the first half of Thursday’s 2-2 draw with Ghana.

However, the results of a scan have revealed a muscle strain which Egypt say will rule the Liverpool striker out of their final Group B fixture against already-qualified Cape Verde on Monday and, if they progress, their last-16 tie as well.

“The X-rays that Mohamed Salah, the captain of the Egyptian national team, underwent, showed that he suffered a hamstring strain,” an Egyptian Football Association statement read.

“And he will miss the team’s next two matches in the Africa Cup of Nations against Cape Verde, and then the round of 16 match in the event of qualification.”

Egypt are currently second in Group B after two draws with Mozambique and Ghana and will face leaders Cape Verde knowing only a victory will guarantee their passage into the knockout stages.

That would tee up a last-16 tie in San-Pedro on January 28, while they could also potentially qualify as one of the best third-placed teams.

Salah will therefore only feature again at the competition if Egypt make it to a quarter-final on February 2 or 3.

Senegal, who beat Salah's Egypt on penalties in the final of the last Afcon, clinched a spot in the next round with one group game to spare thanks to a 3-1 win over Cameroon in the Ivory Coast capital of Yamoussoukro.

Ismaila Sarr of Marseille put the reigning champions ahead early on and later set up Habib Diallo to make it 2-0.

Jean-Charles Castelletto pulled one back, but Senegal were not to be denied a convincing victory and talisman Sadio Mane put the outcome beyond doubt late on.

Senegal have a maximum six points after two Group C matches, while Cameroon have only one and their hopes of advancing to the last 16 are in the balance.

"I remember that in 2017 we lost to Cameroon in the quarter-finals, so during this match we did everything to win," said Marseille forward Sarr.

Bebe stunner

Later on in Group C, Guinea, again missing star striker Serhou Guirassy, beat Gambia 1-0 at the same venue thanks to Aguibou Camara's second-half goal.

The result leaves Guinea second in the section on four points, meaning they need just a draw against Senegal in their next match to guarantee qualification for the last 16, while a victory will see them progress as group winners.

Cameroon and Gambia will meet each other next and can both hope to at least progress as one of the four best third-placed sides.

Earlier, Cape Verde became the first team to qualify for the last 16 thanks to a convincing 3-0 win over Mozambique in Abidjan.

Former Manchester United forward Bebe set the Atlantic Ocean island nation on their way with a remarkable first-half free kick from 40 yards at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium.

Captain Ryan Mendes doubled their lead just after half time and Kevin Pina wrapped up the win with a stunning strike midway through the second half.

Cape Verde's biggest ever Afcon victory leaves them on six points from two games and means they are now certain to top Group B, after they beat Ghana 2-1 in their opening game.

"I don't know how far we can go. Now we are into the last 16 and we just need to keep working as we have been," said Mendes.

"We know it won't be easy but we believe in ourselves and in our work."

Cape Verde already know they will stay in Abidjan for a last-16 tie against a third-placed team on January 29.

Mozambique, appearing at their fifth Cup of Nations, have still never won a match in 14 attempts at the tournament.

Tanzania sack coach

Meanwhile, Tanzania fired coach Adel Amrouche after he was banned for eight matches and fined $10,000 over comments about Morocco.

His dismissal was confirmed by the Tanzanian Football Federation with Hemed Suleiman promoted from assistant coach to caretaker boss for the rest of their Afcon campaign.

The Group F outsiders lost 3-0 to Morocco on Wednesday and still have to play Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Before Amrouche was axed, a Confederation of African Football official said the body "has suspended the coach for eight matches after comments he made about Moroccan officials in a TV interview".

Algeria-born Amrouche alleged Moroccan officials within CAF decide who referees matches involving the senior men's national team, and at what time they kick off.

Updated: January 20, 2024, 7:44 AM