Mohamed Salah could miss rest of Egypt's Afcon as injury 'more serious than first thought'

Updates on the forward's fitness were made after Monday's 2-2 draw with Cape Verde, while Equatorial Guinea crushed hosts Ivory Coast in one of the tournament's greatest shocks

Powered by automated translation

Mohamed Salah's hamstring injury is more serious than initially thought and the Egypt captain could miss the rest of his team's Africa Cup of Nations campaign, manager Rui Vitoria said.

Salah will return to his club Liverpool for treatment on the injury he suffered in last Thursday's 2-2 draw with Ghana in Ivory Coast. The Egyptian Football Association had ruled the forward out of the next two games but now say he would not return until the Afcon semi-finals, should Egypt make it that far.

Earlier, Salah's agent posted on social media on Monday, just before the Pharaohs' crucial final group match against Cape Verde, that he could be sidelined for even longer than the original 10-14 days prognosis.

"Mohamed's injury is more serious than first thought and he will be out for 21-28 days, and not two games," Ramy Abbas Issa wrote on X.

"His best chance at participating in the current Afcon is by undergoing intensive rehabilitation in the UK and rejoining the team as soon as he is fit."

Speaking after the Cape Verde game, which Egypt drew 2-2 to qualify for the last 16 with Salah in attendance, Rui Vitoria said: "I want to take this opportunity to clarify things.

"Mohamed Salah has an injury, which we learned before this game was a longer-term injury than we first thought, so we have had to prolong the amount of time before he can play again.

"Before the game we did not want to say anything. Meanwhile, everything was in the control of our excellent medical team," he said, indicating that it made sense for Salah to go back to Liverpool given the Egyptian squad will now be leaving Abidjan in any case to play a last-16 tie in the coastal city of San-Pedro.

"Given we were going to have to travel, given the temperatures, given that we were going to be going to a different city, maybe it makes sense that Salah should have a place he can go to recover as quickly as possible," he said, while expressing annoyance at Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

"We didn't want to alarm anyone. I didn't think it was right for Liverpool, via any intermediary, to speak about this, because we had a tremendously important game today," he said after Klopp suggested on Sunday that Salah would return to Anfield for treatment.

"Salah has always been with us. Now this game is over we will find the best solution for the treatment of the player. These are the facts. This is the situation," said the Egypt coach.

Equatorial Guinea crush Ivory Coast in historic shock

Equatorial Guinea pulled off one of the most stunning results in Africa Cup of Nations history on Monday by thrashing hosts Ivory Coast 4-0 to win Group A and secure a last-16 place.

They were joined in the knockout phase by Nigeria, who beat Guinea-Bissau 1-0 to finish runners-up.

Ghana conceded two goals in added time to only draw 2-2 with Mozambique and, with only two points, may not be among the four best third-placed teams that also qualify and could be eliminated on Tuesday.

Ranked 39 places lower than their rivals, Equatorial Guinea ripped the Ivorian defence apart in the second half after leading 1-0 at half time.

Emilio Nsue took his goals tally to five with a brace and Pablo Ganet and Jannick Buyla also netted for a nation which often fights above its weight in the tournament, first held in 1957.

"We knew that our opponents were under pressure and we took that into account when putting our strategy in place," said Equatorial Guinea coach Juan Micha.

"With humility, we are making an effort to reach as far as possible. We are working to reach the level of the big guys.

"Regarding Ivory Coast, I am hurt because it is the organising country, but it is football. We must forget this match and plan for the rest of the competition."

Ivory Coast coach Jean-Louis Gasset said: "I don't think it's because of our state of mind, when I see the players in the dressing room crying, it hurts me.

"We tried, we gave everything I think. When you have a scenario like that, bordering on a nightmare, there's not much you can say or do."

Updated: January 23, 2024, 4:34 AM