Even if he will not show it, Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi is certainly relieved to learn that Egyptian dangerman Mohamed Salah has been ruled out of Thursday’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification match against Kenya in El Borg Aran stadium in Alexandria.
Salah sustained an ankle injury while turning out for Liverpool in an English Premier League match against Leicester two weeks ago and even though he appeared and scored in the win against Manchester City last weekend, he was substituted late on as he appeared to be struggling.
Despite the uncertainty over his fitness, the former Chelsea and AS Roma forward travelled to Cairo on the same flight with Stars captain Victor Wanyama but was declared unfit by his national team’s medical staff.
He will also miss Egypt’s next qualifier away to Comoros on Monday.
Besides Salah, Egypt will also be without Pyramids striker Abdulla El Said is missing in action after his club refused to release him on time for this game.
But Aston Villa’s Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan is available for selection for the seven-time African champions.
Salah arguably is the best striker in Africa at the moment.
He, alongside club teammate Sadio Mane of Senegal and Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang jointly topped the scorers’ chartt in the English Premier League last season with 23 goals each.
He was also instrumental in Liverpool’s successful campaign in last season’s Uefa Champions League.
Kenya is in the same group with Egypt, Comoros and Togo in this qualification campaign with only the top two teams qualifying for the biennial continental tournament lay at the next Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.