Head coach of the Egypt men’s national football team says professional footballer Mohamed Salah is “almost 100%” certain to play in the Pharaohs’ 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup opener against Uruguay.
“I can almost assure you 100% he will play, save unforeseen circumstances at the very last minute. He could become the top goal scorer here and one of the greatest players,” Héctor Cúper said.
The 62-year-old Argentine added that Salah, who plays as a forward for English Premier League club Liverpool, was “doing very well” and had recovered “very, very quickly.”
“We’re trying to make him feel confident. The doctors are giving him the option to play or not, but I know Salah very well and I’m sure he’s not afraid, he’s not fearful,” Cúper noted.
Salah has not played since injuring shoulder ligaments during Liverpool’s Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid on May 26.
Meanwhile, Egyptian defender Ali Gabr will be fit to play after bruising his face in training.
On Friday, Egypt will play Uruguay in a Group A fixture at the Central Stadium of Ekaterinburg. Morocco will take on Iran in a Group B match at Saint Petersburg’s Krestovsky Stadium.
Portugal will face Spain in a Group B encounter at Fisht Olympic Stadium of Sochi.
During the official 2018 FIFA World Cup draw ceremony at Kremlin State Palace in the Russian capital city of Moscow on December 1 last year, the host nation, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay were put in Group A in the preliminary round of the tournament.
The Iran men’s national football team, nicknamed Team Melli, has joined Portugal’s A Selecção, Spain’s La Furia Roja and Atlas Lions of Morocco.
France is drawn in Group C, and is pitted against Australia, Peru and Denmark.
Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria are drawn in Group D.
Group E consists of Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.
While the 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea shape Group F, Belgium, Panama, Tunisia and England are in Group G.
Group H has Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place from June 14 to July 15. Russia will open the event against Saudi Arabia in a Group A fixture at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
A total of 64 matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities.