Salah in two minds about the Olympics

The Citizen (KZN) - - Internatio­nal - Cairo

Mo­hamed Salah’s po­ten­tial in­volve­ment for his coun­try in the Tokyo Olympic Games will be a de­ci­sion for the player and his club Liver­pool, Egypt’s Olympic coach said this week.

Me­dia re­ports on Salah’s in­clu­sion in a pro­vi­sional 50-man squad led to spec­u­la­tion that Liver­pool could be with­out Salah for the start of the next Premier League sea­son.

But Egyp­tian Olympic team coach Shawky Gharib said they could not force the player to be in­volved.

“Salah’s par­tic­i­pa­tion with the Pharaohs team in Tokyo is a de­ci­sion to be taken only by Salah, his club Liver­pool and his coach Juer­gen Klopp,” he said.

“We can­not force Salah to par­tic­i­pate with us be­cause Fifa reg­u­la­tions do not com­pel him to par­tic­i­pate.”

The Olympic tour­na­ment is for Un­der-23 teams but three over­age play­ers are al­lowed in each squad. Fifa has long ac­knowl­edged that clubs are not obliged to re­lease over-age play­ers for the Games.

Salah was part of the Liver­pool team which won the Cham­pi­ons League last sea­son and they are now run­away lead­ers in the Premier League with the Egyp­tian their top scorer on 14 goals.

In re­sponse to Salah’s in­clu­sion in the squad, the player’s agent Ramy Ab­bas posted on Twit­ter that “no de­ci­sion has been made yet” and Gharib said that view was cor­rect.

“The agent’s comment does not of­fend any­one...What he said is the same truth,” he said, not­ing that Klopp had not ruled out or backed his player fea­tur­ing in Tokyo.

But Gharib clearly hopes a way can be found for the striker, the most suc­cess­ful player Egypt has pro­duced, to per­form for his coun­try in the tour­na­ment from 22 July to 8 Au­gust. “Salah is one of the top three play­ers in the world and any team hopes to have a player of his ca­pa­bil­i­ties and skills in the squad,” adde the agent. –

Pic­ture: Getty Im­ages

MO­HAMED SALAH

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