Plenty of Egyptians are optimistic that Mohamed Salah will be able to play at the beginning of Egypt’s World Cup campaign in Russia, starting with a match against Uruguay on 15 June, yet the team should find a way to avoid being fully dependent on the striker, said coach Hector Cuper, according to Reuters.
The winger is recovering from the shoulder ligament injury in Real Madrid’s 3-1 victory over Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League final held in Kiev, Ukraine, leaving their World Cup hopes in complete tatters.
Commenting on the injury Cuper told Sky Sports, “we hope we won’t be affected, we try to be the same team, we can’t be dependent on one player,” adding that Salah is important, but if he is not fit in time, Egypt will be ready with another player.
“This is football, these things can happen to any player. We could need to substitute him, but we hope that won’t be the case,” he said.
Salah scored 44 goals in his first season for Liverpool, and was voted Player of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association last month, becoming the first African to win the award.
Egypt’s final World Cup squad includes Salah, following suggestions from medical staff that he might be able to participate in Egypt’s Group A game against Uruguay in Yekaterinburg on 15 June. The Egyptian national team’s doctor, Mohamed Abou El-Ela, said that he is optimistic Salah will still feature in the World Cup.
Furthermore, Cuper explained that it is essential to improve Salah’s demeanour and his fitness level because the injury has prevented him from training as a normal player.
On the other hand, Salah said during an interview with Bleacher Report on Tuesday, “you play for your own country with your feeling, your emotion. It’s different. You don’t play the same number of games for your country that you do for your club. And so it feels like you are really fighting for your country. It’s a different feeling.”
Salah went on to say that people in Egypt have just wanted to be back in the World Cup for so long that everyone is pleased that the team was able to do so. He added, “that is good for us because there is no pressure. It is also good because the rest of the world looks at us like we aren’t supposed to be there, and that is also good for us. There is no pressure on the players. But if you ask me what we are saying to each other, as the players on the team, we are saying something different.”