The North Africans are the most successful country at the Nations Cup, but their talismanic captain has revealed their thirst for more
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has sent a notification to Afcon group stage foes Nigeria and other competitors that the sole aim of the Egyptian national team is winning the trophy.
The Pharaohs are record seven-time winners of the Africa Cup of Nations, but Salah has won nothing with his country.
The 2021 BBC Player of the Year came agonisingly close to lifting the trophy in 2017 as Egypt lost to Cameroon in the finals hosted by Gabon.
After another disappointing outing on home soil in 2019, the Pharaohs head to Cameroon 2021, with one of the world’s best players, as one of the favourites.
Nigeria will offer the first challenge for Carlos Queiroz’s men in Group D’s opening game before further meetings against Sudan and Guinea-Bissau.
The Super Eagles have a decent record when facing Egypt, with the 2013 Afcon champions boasting eight wins and five draws in 18 games in all competitions.
There have been seven meetings between these two teams at the Afcon, with the Pharaohs cruising to a 3-1 victory in their opening Group C fixture at Angola 2010, their last faceoff in the competition.
A defeat to Augustine Eguavoen’s men on January 11 could hurt the Egyptians’ title hopes. Still, Salah has taken to Instagram to assure his countrymen that the Pharaohs will give everything to beat all opponents and return to Egypt with the Afcon trophy.
The 29-year-old wrote (in Arabic): “The road is not easy, but we will fight to come back with the cup. Stay behind us #EncourageEgypt”.
While Egypt can count on the services of Salah, Nigeria will be without the talents of some of their leading attackers.
Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, Genk’s Paul Onuachu, and exciting Watford forward Emmanuel Dennis will not be with the Super Eagles at the Afcon tournament.
Their absence, however, presents a chance for Union Berlin’s Taiwo Awoniyi, Almeria’s Umar Sadiq, and Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho to write their names in Afcon history.