Grozny, Russia: Mohammad Salah gave Egypt’s World Cup hopes a huge boost on Wednesday when he joined a squad training session at their Grozny base.
The Pharaohs’ superstar has been sidelined since suffering a shoulder injury in Liverpool’s Champions League final loss to Real Madrid on May 26.
However, this agency reporter saw the forward take part in his first training session since the injury, going through a range of warm-up exercises with his teammates.
Team director Ihab Lahita was cagey about Salah’s progress, saying there was no guarantee he would play in Egypt’s Group A opener against Uruguay on Friday.
“There’s a good degree of progress but no definitive decision on whether he takes part, as we are following his case day by day,” he told reporters.
Salah arrived in Russia with serious doubts about his participation due to the shoulder injury, which occurred when Sergio Ramos wrestled him to the ground in the final.
But such has been his form for Liverpool, with 44 goals in all competitions this season, that he was included in the Egypt squad simply on the off-chance he could play.
On May 30, Egypt officials said Salah would be out for “not more” than three weeks, which would rule him out of the Uruguay match but put him in the frame for matches against Russia on June 19 and Saudi Arabia on June 25.
Team doctor Mohammad Abu Al Ela said over the weekend that Salah would not play “unless he has totally recovered”.
The player sat out Egypt’s first training session after arriving in Russia but was optimistic about his prospects. “I’m excited. God willing I’m well-prepared and things are going well and my morale is high,” he said on Sunday.
Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera has expressed hope that Salah will play against the South Americans, saying he wants to play against the best at football’s showpiece tournament.
“I like the best players to play, I train with the best and I want the best players to play,” he said.
Salah is regarded as a contender for the Ballon d’Or, alongside Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar of Brazil.
Egypt, meanwhile, said they will “oblige” Fifa to allow it to broadcast 22 matches of the World Cup, challenging the control of global football’s governing body over broadcasting rights.
Egypt’s Competition Authority (ECA) said Fifa, being the sole organisation able to grant broadcasting rights for the World Cup, was in violation of Egyptian freedom of competition laws, the official gazette said on Tuesday.
Egypt is participating in this year’s World Cup.
The ECA said it had decided to “halt the negative Fifa decision of declining to give broadcast rights for 22 matches of the World Cup in Russia to [Egypt’s] National Media Authority [NMA] and all its effects, and to oblige Fifa to grant the aforementioned direct terrestrial broadcasting rights”.
It said the decision came after Fifa failed to respond to communication by the NMA for broadcast rights.