AFCON 2023: Mohamed Salah slammed by fans for ‘abandoning’ Egypt until final

Mohamed Salah after being taken off against Ghana | Imago

AFCON 2023: Mohamed Salah slammed by fans for ‘abandoning’ Egypt until final

Ayoola Kelechi 09:50 - 23.01.2024

After suffering a muscular injury during Egypt's group stage match against Ghana, Salah has decided to return to Liverpool for medical treatment, but his decision has not gone down well with fans of the Pharaohs

Mohamed Salah, the renowned Egyptian football star, faced significant criticism from fans and media for leaving the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2023) mid-tournament to receive treatment for an injury in England.

Salah had sustained a hamstring injury during Egypt's match against Ghana, leading to his early departure from the game. The Egyptian Football Association later announced that Salah would travel to England for treatment, with hopes of his return for the semifinals or final should Egypt qualify.

Fan and media reactions to Salah’s impending absence

This decision sparked controversy among Egyptian fans, former players, and media figures. Many accused him of abandoning his team ahead of a crucial game, raising questions about his commitment to the national team.

Prominent Egyptian former soccer player Ahmed "Mido" Hossam criticised Salah's timing, suggesting it showed a prioritisation of personal interests. Similarly, Hany Ramzy, another former national team player, expressed shock over the timing of Salah's departure, hinting at potential pressure from Liverpool FC.

Sports writer Talha Ahmed and sports presenter Ibrahim Fayek also weighed in, with Fayek questioning the severity of Salah's injury and its impact on his duties as the national team captain. Despite the criticism, some fans and commentators defended Salah's decision, emphasizing the need for his recovery and wishing him a speedy return.

Salah's response and commitment to the national team

Salah, in response to the criticism of his performance in the tournament, highlighted his role as part of the team, not an individual player. He stressed his commitment to the national team's success and called for support from Egyptian fans, especially for newer players who might struggle under pressure.

Mo Salah has lost two AFCON finals. (Photo Credit: Imago)
Mo Salah has lost two AFCON finals. (Photo Credit: Imago)

This situation underscores the complex dynamics between national team commitments and club obligations, particularly for high-profile players like Salah. His desire to lead Egypt to victory in the AFCON and end the country's recent title drought is evident, yet his injury and subsequent departure have added a layer of controversy to his already substantial influence in Egyptian football.

Related content