Ever since the World Cup, one in which Mohamed Salah played through a painful shoulder injury suffered just weeks before, scoring both of Egypt’s goals in the process, a dispute between the Egyptian FA and its star has been bubbling under the surface. With the first international break of the season quickly approaching, those grievances are rising back to prominence.
Despite reports of veiled threats to Salah’s family, the Liverpool and national star is not backing down, voicing concerns over personal safety and “distractions” from visitors (which no doubt includes being used as a political pawn in Russia).
Now, fellow Egyptian international and West Brom defender Ahmed Hegazi (last seen punching Danny Ings) has taken to Twitter, throwing his support behind Mo.
“Salah is the most important player in the Egyptian national team, everybody loves him,” Hegazi wrote in Arabic. “I hope that these minor problems and misunderstanding be solved so that everybody can focus on the best interest of the national team in the upcoming period.”
صلاح اهم لاعبي المنتخب و الكل يحبه و اتمني حل المشاكل البسيطه و سوء التفاهم و تركيز الجميع يكون في الصالح العام للمنتخب في الفتره القادمه الصعبه و وقوف الجميع معا pic.twitter.com/mX6Y9uDcSY— Ahmed hegazi (@Hegazi) August 28, 2018
As Egyptian football’s most visible face, Salah is coming from a position of privilege, one which allows him a platform to speak out against abuses by the FA toward him and his fellow athletes. However, with the FA’s immediate insinuations of “selfishness” levelled at the player, it’s clear that these officials will not back down so easily.
Although Hegazi’s description of the dispute as “minor” could be seen as tacit support for Salah, it could possibly allow both sides to save face, and find a way forward. By supporting Salah, he is highlighting that his concerns are not merely those of a primadonna athlete, but shared by others. But by describing them as “minor” it makes it easier for the FA to back down quietly. At least that’s the hope.
As for now, it doesn’t appear that the situation will be resolved before the international break.