PRESSURE MOUNTS ON EGYPT U23 COACH TO PICK SALAH FOR OLYMPICS

Egypt under-23 coach Shawky Gharib admits it is too early to decide if Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah will be one of his overage players at next year’s Olympics.

The Egyptians have qualified for the men’s football tournament at the Tokyo games by reaching the final of the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations on home soil.

While qualifying for the men’s football at the Olympics is restricted to under-23 players teams can name three ‘overaged’ players for the tournament at the Games.

“As an Egyptian, I’m so proud of what he [Salah] is doing with Liverpool, he is an amazing player and makes the whole nation proud,” Gharib said.

“But it is too early to talking about whether I will pick him to be with us in Tokyo 2020. I will think about the players that my team will need and then I will announce.”

Former Stoke City striker Ramdan Sobhi, who is now with Egyptian side Al Ahly, said that Salah had been in touch with him on reaching the Olympics.

“Salah called me by phone yesterday and congratulated us on the qualification for which I thank him very much,” Sobhi said.

“I also think it’s so early to talk about the players who will join us in Tokyo, we have 21 fighters in our squad [at the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations] and they have done amazing job in the tournament.

“Everyone should give them the credit then we can talk about who will join us there.”

Egypt will play Côte d Ivoire, who have also qualified for the Olympics, in the Under-23 Nations Cup final tonight.

Africa’s other place at the Games will also be decided same day when Ghana play South Africa in the third-place play-off.

-BBC