"We can't force him" - Egypt boss on his plans to include Mohamed Salah in Olympics squad

LFC Globe
13th February 2020
Mohamed Salah - Egypt

Egypt coach Shawky Gharib has insisted 's possible participation at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is not in his control.

Gharib selected the Reds forward in an extended squad list released earlier this week, with the final squad to be submitted in early June.

The Olympics is restricted to include only under-23 players. However, countries can name a maximum of three over-age players in their squad, with Gharib understandably keen to include Salah.

The 27-year-old has scored 18 goals and notched eight assists for the Reds this year, but his participation in the competition would scupper plans of a rest at the end of the season. He would also miss Liverpool's pre-season and could be out of the Reds' opening fixtures.

Shawky Gharib

Image: Getty Images

Gharib, however, insists he won't "force" Salah into participating, saying the decision lies with Salah, Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp.

“We cannot force Salah to participate with us,” Gharib told Reuters.

“Salah's participation with the Pharaohs team is a decision to be taken only by Salah, his club Liverpool and his coach Jurgen Klopp.

“I have chosen him in an expanded list of 50 players. The final list of 18 players will be submitted in June.”

Klopp was questioned on the issue last month, telling reporters that "no decision" had been made yet.

Mohamed Salah

Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images

“Nothing really to say about it. What I have to say to Mo I will say to him and not here (in this press conference). That's all. No decision made from either side, that's all I can say.

“I wish we could have the whole squad together for pre-season which is not possible for different reasons – the Euro's coming up, Copa America again.

“Yes, Olympic Games – it's a wonderful tournament but would be not so cool. So far, no decision and you have to wait a little bit.”

Salah's absence would be a big miss for the Reds at the start of next year, especially with the Africa Cup of Nations also set to prise him alongside Sadio Mane and Naby Keita in January 2021.

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