Egypt coach Rui Vitoria on Monday confirmed that the hamstring injury suffered by captain Mohamed Salah at the Africa Cup of Nations would require a longer recovery period than first suggested as the forward prepares to return to Liverpool to undergo treatment.
The Egyptian Football Association announced on Sunday that Salah would go back to England to continue his recovery from the injury suffered in last Thursday’s 2-2 draw with Ghana in Ivory Coast.
After initially ruling him out for two games, they said the hope was that the 31-year-old would return for the AFCON semi-finals, should Egypt make it that far.
However, an Egypt team source said they expected him to be out for 10 to 14 days.
Earlier, the player’s agent cast doubt even on that prospect in a post on X on Monday, just before the Pharaohs’ crucial final Cup of Nations group match against Cape Verde.
“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 the Egyptians 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 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.
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