Local fans who were looking forward to watch Egyptian star Mohammad Salah in tomorrow’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Ethiopia have been dealt a blow as the Liverpool marksman will miss the match due to injury.
Ethiopia’s Walyas host the record seven time African champions at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe tomorrow from 6pm following Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) decision to ban their national stadium from hosting international matches for failing to meet some minimum requirements.
A statement issued by the Egyptian Football Association on Monday confirmed the Liverpool marksman’s absence.
“The technical staff prefers to give Salah a rest in the Ethiopia game after medical scans revealed that he suffered a minor muscular strain,” reads the statement in part.
A Lilongwe-based football fan Wilfred Katimba said he had been planning to watch the match because of Salah.
He said: “Nevertheless, I will still watch the game because Egypt are a big team and I was impressed with Ethiopia’s performance against the Flames on Sunday.
“But watching Salah live would have been a wonderful experience for me. Anyway, I hope he will be fit when Egypt come to face the Flames.”
Late on Sunday, Egypt coach Ehab Galal revealed that the 29-year-old Liverpool star had been struggling with an injury ahead of their 1-0 victory over Guinea.
Aston Villa’s key winger Mahmoud Trezeguet also missed the match after picking a knock while warming up for the game and it is still doubtful he will be ready for tomorrow’s match.
“Trezeguet is suffering from a muscular strain and his availability for Ethiopia match is yet to be determined,” the EFA statement added.
But their goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawi, who also missed the Guinea match, is likely to return to service for Thursday’s match after recovering from Covid-19.
The Egyptians were expected to arrive in the country yesterday while the Ethiopians remained in the country after the match against the Flames.
Meanwhile, FAM commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola has said tickets for the match hit the market yesterday.
The standard ticket has been pegged at K3 000, a corporate box seat ticket is fetching K20 000 while a VIP ticket is selling at K15 million.
Matola said the tickets are available at a number of service stations, FDH Bank Lilongwe branches and BNS (corporate boxes and VIP).