CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt forward Mohamed Salah, who missed training with a cold on Thursday, will be fit to face South Africa in their Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 match on Saturday, a team spokesman said.
Salah “will train today with the team and will be to play tomorrow normally”, the spokesman said on Friday.
Earlier, coach Javier Aguirre said all the players were available except Ahmed Kouka and (reserve goalkeeper) Mahmoud Abdel Rahim.
Egypt won all their group games without conceding a goal but their performances have still been criticised as they allowed both Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda to dominate long spells of their matches.
Aguirre denied that Egypt had a scoring problem, reminding reporters that “we have scored goals in 10 of the 11 matches since I have been in charge”.
“It’s very difficult to win each match 5-0, very difficult,” added the Mexican, who has complained about the amount of pressure being put on his team to win the tournament for an eighth time.
“All the players have the same idea when they play against Egypt — that they have nothing to lose,” he said. “That’s the way they play against us — we are playing at home, we are the favourites, we have Salah, and they have nothing to lose.”
“It’s very important that we know how to handle this situation.”
Aguirre also dismissed concerns about the team’s fitness.
“The team is fresh, we will have a good rest until the match,” he said. “We are prepared physically and the team will respond tomorrow.”
(Reporting by Osama Khairy, Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond)