Mohammed Salah has been called up by Egypt for the AFCON qualifier games coming up on the 25th and 29th of March.
This came shortly after the Covid-19 concerns across the world that has caused South America’s 2022 World Cup qualifying matches to be suspended due to travel restrictions in some countries and the fact that some Premier League managers have also blocked their star players from jetting off to ‘red list’ countries.
Although several calls have been made to suspend this month’s qualifying matches, and FIFA’s attention has been drawn to intervene in the suspension call but it looks like the AFCON qualifier will hold.
Mohammed Salah is among the six foreign-based players that have been selected by coach Hossam El Badry to play against Kenya on March 25 and Comoros on March 29.
The news comes just days after Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he would stop Liverpool’s international players from travelling to World Cup qualifiers stressing that a 10-day quarantine after they return is impossible.
Other foreign-based players that have been named to feature in the qualifier match are Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny, Aston Villa’s Mahmoud Trezeguet have also been named in the Egypt squad, Olympiacos striker Ahmed Hassan Kouka, Al-Ittihad centre-back Ahmed Hegazi and Galatasaray signing Mostafa Mohamed.
South America was forced by FIFA to call off their World Cup qualifiers matches scheduled for this month after Premier League clubs threatened to invoke “emergency FIFA Covid rules” and refuse to release their star players.
However, the problem with South America is that majority of the countries, most especially Brazil – are already on the UK’s red list for banned travels.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, clubs had no right to withhold players from international duties. But that has changed since football returned to action amid the ongoing pandemic, and now forcing South American nations to postpone the World Cup qualifiers and the blue riband Brazil-Argentina clash on March 30th.
El Badry’s team who are looking to pull clear at the top of Group G, Will be hoping his foreign-based players will be allowed to travel as the case in Africa is not as serious as that of South America.
Egypt has won the competition three times in a row between 2006 and 2010 but has since failed to lift the cup. In 2017, they finished the tournament as runners-up and in 2019, they suffered a disappointing round-of-16 exit to South Africa.
Klopp remains stiff-necked on letting any of his players leave for the international duty as he can’t afford to lose his top players for both domestic and Champions League matches.
Salah played 90 minutes of football in their 1-0 defeat to Fulham on Sunday – just days after they lost against Chelsea.