Why Mohamed Salah Owes Egypt FA Nothing & Should Quit International Duty After Latest Threats
A storm is brewing between Mohamed Salah and the Egyptian FA; a storm which is heavily intertwined with the politics of a nation, and it is now time for the Liverpool star to step away.
Salah, 26, is widely considered one of Egypt’s greatest ever footballers but his ongoing dispute with the EFA has taken a dark and unforgiving path which has culminated in an official making a threat against his family.
It is a road taken which has no return and Salah should be reciprocating the sentiment in the form of ending his international career.
You may be wondering how it got to this point, so lets rewind – first to earlier this year when one of the disputes between the two parties was made public.
The issue surrounded complaints over image rights after Salah was used to promote the nation’s official sponsor WE on the outside of the team’s official plane, in what is a direct violation of his individual sponsorship with rivals Vodafone.
Disagreements and a failure to find common ground led to doubts over whether Salah would in fact represent his nation at the World Cup during the summer, and although he did make his way to Russia it opened another crate – because a can would not do it justice – of worms.
Salah’s time in Russia made headlines in the western world for all the wrong reasons after he was paraded around a Grozny stadium by Ramzan Kadyrov, controversial head of the Chechen Republic, merely hours after touching down to prepare for the tournament.
Kadyrov has been condemned by human rights campaigners having enforced strict Islamic rules and a crackdown on homosexuality within the worn-torn region, and the Liverpool ace was used as a propaganda tool having been handed an honorary citizenship by the region’s leader.
The meeting, or PR stunt, would not have been possible without the intervention and poor judgement of the Egyptian government and the EFA.
As the tournament rolled on Egypt’s preparations were disrupted further by various celebrities and other notables seeking photo ops in the team hotel, where some went as far as waiting outside Salah’s door in the early hours of the morning despite his pleas for it to stop.
The events which took place in Russia saw the 26-year-old’s lawyer and agent, Ramy Abbas, seek assurances that Salah would be protected and that duties off the field would be regulated during international competitions in the future.
Their requests fell on deaf ears for weeks, and the silence was only recently broken when the EFA insisted that his requests were ‘illogical’ and that they would not favour one player over another, insinuating he was being selfish.
— egypt_patriot (@egypt_patriot) August 29, 2018
It prompted Salah to take to social media to address the issue: “I’m the person that these things happen to. I’m the person who gets harmed by these things,” he said, via AFP.
“These requests are very small but make things easier, they make the player focused in the match. I asked for more security for all players, not only for me.”
The culmination of all these events would be enough to turn anyone away from international duty, but the straw which broke the camels back is the threat made by EFA official Khaled Lateif.
Lateif directly responded to one of Salah’s tweets with: “I’d like to remind @MoSalah that your mother is still in Egypt. You are abroad and can do as you wish. Those who understand, understand.”
Salah no doubt holds his country close to his heart, where those outside of positions of power widely recognise him as a national hero following his meteoric rise, but the chain of events which have unfolded should leave no doubt over his future with the national team.
The 26-year-old has the position and popularity to speak out, and his decision to step away from the national team, whose FA continue to their most valuable asset as a pawn in their shady manoeuvrings, may just be the step needed to trigger change within the unstable political climate. Or at very least to stop future stars being manipulated to the same ends.
Salah is a once in a lifetime player for Egypt, but continued attempts to derail his career and his character should leave him with little choice as to his next career move.