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AFCON 2023: Salah suffers backlash over return to Liverpool

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Mohamed Salah scored the winning spot kick for Egypt

The Egyptian public and the country’s most-capped player have criticized Mohamed Salah for withdrawing from the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to travel back to Merseyside for knee treatment.

Salah had planned to go back to England after the Pharaohs’ last group-stage play against Cape Verde on Monday night, but Egypt fans and analysts were outraged that the 31-year-old left them in the middle of the tournament to recover.

Liverpool’s top scorer is anticipated to miss at least three weeks of activity, thereby ending his tournament.

Salah’s agent, Ramy Abbas, said on Monday: ”Mohamed’s injury is more serious than first thought, and he will be out for 21–28 days and not two games.

”His best chance and participation in the current AFCON is by undergoing intensive rehabilitation in the UK and rejoining the team as he is fit.”

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Ahmed Hassan, who won four AFCON titles and a record 184 caps, believed Salah should stay with Egypt ”even if he only had one leg to stand on.”

”I had no problems with what he said, but it turned out that he was plotting his departure from the Egypt camp.

”Do the AFCON regulations allow a player to leave the national team’s camp and come back again?

”He had the possibility of bringing in someone from Liverpool’s medical staff to be with him during the competition. Again, he is the captain. He should stay with the team no matter what, even if he only had one leg to stand on.”

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Salah went down in Egypt’s second group game clutching his left hamstring, but examinations revealed he had strained a posterior muscle.

Egyptian media have also labeled Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp as ‘disrespectful’ for effectively breaking the news of Salah’s homecoming, rather than the country’s football organization.

Egypt originally anticipated their captain would return for the semi-final stage if they got there.

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