Mohamed Salah will not feature in Egypt’s friendly against Tanzania on Thursday as the team continue preparations for the upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Liverpool forward, 26, joined up with the squad only on Wednesday having been given additional time off following the Uefa Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur on June 1. Salah scored the opener from the spot in Madrid as Liverpool went on to win 2-0 and seal a sixth European Cup.
Egypt, seven-time Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) champions, have been training since last week as they get set to host the continental showpiece for the first time in 12 years. They take on Tanzania at the Borg El Arab Stadium on Thursday before facing Guinea in another warm-up match this Sunday.
Placed in Group A, the hosts open the tournament against Zimbabwe in Cairo on June 21, then meet DR Congo and Uganda for a place in the knockouts. They last lifted the crown in 2010.
Egypt manager Javier Aguirre confirmed Salah would not be selected against Tanzania, although he did say he could well play a part in Sunday’s friendly.
"For Thursday, definitely not," the former Al Wahda manager told The National. "Mohamed has spent around five or seven days on vacation. But the guy's a professional; he is dedicated, with a lot of motivation. But I'm not considering him.
"Maybe for the second game; maybe the second half, I’ll give him some minutes. But for sure, he will be ready for June 21 and the beginning of the tournament. But not for Tanzania.”
Aguirre announced his final 23-man squad on Tuesday, with Salah headlining a group that features eight overseas-based players. Those include Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny and Aston Villa's Ahmed Elmohamady.
Aguirre said the matches against Tanzania and Guinea represent important tests ahead of next week’s Afcon opener.
“To be honest, yes they are,” he said. “I don’t have many doubts in the starting line-up, but the big problem here is that some players finished their season in Europe for example 25 days go, or three weeks ago. So that I have some concerns regarding that.
“But in these two games I will play with the 23 players - I hope - and in the end I have my starting line-up in my mind. But always you need to have two or three good substitutes, so I’m trying to find out who it’s going to be.”