Egypt, a seven-time champion at the Africa Cup of Nations, suffered a significant setback on Friday when their captain, Mohamed Salah, was sidelined due to a hamstring injury. The Egyptian Football Association officially confirmed that the Liverpool star would miss the upcoming crucial matches, including the final group game against Cape Verde and any subsequent last-16 tie.
Salah, who left the field during the first half of the Pharaohs’ 2-2 draw with Ghana, will only have the opportunity to return if Egypt progresses to the quarter-finals on February 2 or 3. The 31-year-old’s absence poses a challenge for Egypt, who need a victory against Cape Verde to secure advancement in second place in Group B.
In contrast, Senegal, the defending champions, secured their spot in the next round with a convincing 3-1 victory over Cameroon. Senegal’s talisman, Sadio Mane, played a crucial role in sealing the win, leaving them with a maximum of six points after two Group C matches.
Cape Verde, on the other hand, became the first team to qualify for the last 16 after a commanding 3-0 victory over Mozambique. The Atlantic Ocean island nation, led by former Manchester United forward Bebe, showcased their prowess and determination in the competition.
Cape Verde’s captain, Ryan Mendes, expressed optimism about their journey, stating, “Now we are into the last 16, and we just need to keep working as we have been. We know it won’t be easy, but we believe in ourselves and in our work.” The team is set to face a third-placed team on January 29 in the last-16 tie.
In other news, Tanzania has made a coaching change, sacking coach Adel Amrouche after he received an eight-match ban and a $10,000 fine for comments about Morocco. Hemed Suleiman has been promoted from assistant coach to caretaker boss for the remainder of Tanzania’s AFCON campaign.
These developments add an extra layer of intrigue to the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, with teams facing challenges and making strategic moves as they vie for glory in the prestigious tournament.