Egypt's Salah calls for fan unity ahead of Cote d'Ivoire clash

Ahram Online , Tuesday 25 Jan 2022

Mohamed Salah said Egyptian fans should be united behind the national team as they prepare for a mouthwatering clash against Cote d'Ivoire in the African Cup of Nations quarter-final in Cameroon's Douala on Wednesday.

Mohamed Salah
Egypt s forward Mohamed Salah attends a press conference at the Japoma Stadium in Douala on the eve of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match between Ivory Coast and Egypt on January 25, 2022 (AFP)

With social media rife with comments by the fans of Ahly and Zamalek -- Cairo's famed clubs -- that merely provide clan support to their own players, Salah said he believes this mindset should change.

"Unfortunately, we live in the era of social media, and the popularity of the national team is no longer the same. The fans support their own clubs and players," the Liverpool talisman, who scored the winner in a 1-0 group-stage victory over Guinea-Bissau, told a news conference on Tuesday.

"Egyptian football is now divided. There are now (social media) pages created to defend certain clubs and players and they think that it is a good thing, but it is not.

"It's definitely not helpful. You won't hurt Mohamed Salah because I've been through things like that, but it will definitely hurt younger players."

Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz was rebuked by many Ahly and Zamalek supporters before the tournament when he snubbed two prominent players -- Ahly playmaker Magdi Afsha and Zamalek's defensive midfielder Tarek Hamed.

Sections of Ahly's fans also said on social media they wished Egypt would suffer an early elimination so that the Red Devils' international players could join up with the club for the Club World Cup.

Should Egypt reach the semis, Ahly will have to do without several regulars when they kick off their Club World Cup campaign against Mexico's Monterrey on 5 February in Abu Dhabi.

"If you love Egypt and the Egyptian national team, you should only support the team and not a specific player. You harm the player and make him feel that he is more important than the team, and this is not true. There is no player more important than the team, not me or anyone else," Salah added.

"Stand by the team until the end of the tournament and then you can talk about each player individually … if you want the team to win, everyone must unite."

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