Mohamed Salah has safely returned to the United Kingdom to receive treatment on his posterior injury, the Egyptian Federation confirmed Wednesday, although the North Africans are unaware of when he will rejoin the national team at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Liverpool talisman limped off late in the first half of Egypt’s 2-2 draw with Ghana on Jan. 18, and was initially diagnosed with a hamstring strain that was expected to only keep him out for the Pharaohs’ next two matches.
It was later suggested suggested his injury was more serious than first anticipated, and it was ultimately decided that Salah would be better served by returning to Liverpool in order to undergo more intensive rehabilitation.
Egypt have confirmed to ESPN that he arrived in the UK on Tuesday, but acknowledged they were unsure about when he would be able to return to the Ivory Coast.
“Salah travelled yesterday,” the EFA’s Media Officer Mohamed Murad told ESPN on Wednesday. “We don’t know [when we can expect him back].
“Salah is a great player, and a player who everyone in Egypt loves,” he added. “We were hoping for him [to be here] with us.”
The Egyptian Federation forecast initially that Salah could be back in action as soon as the quarterfinal stage of the AFCON — scheduled for Feb. 2 and Feb. 3 — should the seven-time champions advance to the last eight.
“The x-rays that Egyptian national team captain Salah underwent showed that he suffered a strain in the posterior muscle, and he will miss the team’s next two matches at the AFCON — against Cape Verde, and then the Round of 16 match in the event of qualification,” read the initial statement issued by the federation.
Subsequently, however, the player’s long-standing representative Ramy Abbas Issa offered a less optimistic perspective on the forward’s injury.
“Mohamed’s injury is more serious than first thought and he will be out for 21-28 days, and not two games,” Issa posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday. “His best chance at participating in the current AFCON is by undergoing intensive rehabilitation in the UK and rejoining the team as soon as he is fit.”
Sources at Liverpool subsequently confirmed to ESPN that they aligned with Issa’s estimation of Salah’s likely rehabilitation period, which would likely prevent the player from featuring again in the tournament even if Egypt reach the final on Feb. 11.
Egypt drew 2-2 with Cape Verde on Monday to conclude their group campaign in second place, progressing to the knockouts where they will meet the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday.