New hope for Mo Salah’s World Cup dream as Egypt team doctor says he is “optimistic”

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Liverpool's Mohamed Salah reacts after sustaining an injury. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)
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Liverpool's Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah (R) falls with Real Madrid's Spanish defender Sergio Ramos leading to Salah being injured during the UEFA Champions League final football match on May 26, 2018. (AFP / GENYA SAVILOV)
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Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos, right, walks away after a collision with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, left, during the Champions League Final soccer match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
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Liverpool's Mohamed Salah receives medical attention after sustaining an injury while Liverpool's Jordan Henderson looks on. (REUTERS/Phil Noble)
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Liverpool's Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah (3rd R) is comforted by team members and Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (2nd L) as he leaves the pitch after injury during the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine on May 26, 2018. (AFP / Sergei Supinsky)
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Liverpool's Sadio Mane consoles teammate Mohamed Salah as he is substituted off due to injury. (REUTERS/Andrew Boyers)
Updated 27 May 2018
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New hope for Mo Salah’s World Cup dream as Egypt team doctor says he is “optimistic”

  • Egyptian national team doctor says he is optimistic Salah might still be able to play in the World Cup

DUBAI: Egyptian superstar footballer Mo Salah’s World Cup dreams could be revived according to the national team’s doctor, who said he was optimistic the star could still play after he was hurt during the Champions League final on Saturday.

“Through follow ups on the phone with the national team’s delegation in Italy... the officials at Liverpool said an X-ray on Salah’s shoulder” showed the injury to be in the ligaments, the Egyptian Football Association said on Twitter on Saturday.

Salah suffered a dislocated shoulder when he was brought crashing to the floor by Real Madrid captain, Sergio Ramos.

The Egyptian star continued to play for four minutes, but was eventually forced to quit the match in tears.

Liverpool went on to lose 3-1 in the match.

Egyptian football journalist Marwan Ahmed told the BBC: “Honestly, I think it’s a nightmare. There are no words to describe it. There was a minute of silence after we’d seen Salah go down and then when he went down the second time, we knew it wasn’t good and that he would leave the pitch.

“No Egyptian wanted to see that happen, we’ve never had an Egyptian in the Champions League final. It’s really sad – I can’t find the exact words to describe it. Some people were in tears.”

However the national team’s doctor, Mohamed Abou Al-Ela “expressed his optimism that Salah would make it for the World Cup matches according to this diagnosis,” the association said.

The Egyptian FA’s optimism contrasts with statements by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp who said immediately after the game on Saturday Salah’s injury was “serious.”

The Egyptian Minister Youth and Sports Khaled Abd Elaziz also expressed optimism.

“Mohamed Salah, God willing, will be on the national team’s final list for the World Cup, which is to be announced on June 4,” Abd Elaziz said on Facebook.

Sadness and anger filled cafes where Salah's fans gathered to follow the Champions League final, as they watched as the star was forced to leave the match barely half an hour into the game.

Salah had cemented his status as a national hero by leading Egypt to their first World Cup qualification in 28 years.

The team's coach, Argentinean Hector Cuper, said a month before the World Cup kick off that The Pharaohs were banking on Salah in Russia.

Egypt’s first World Cup finals match is against Uruguay on June 15, and they play Saudi Arabia in Volgograd on June 25.


Joan Oumari makes case for Lebanon causing Asian Cup shock

Updated 18 October 2018
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Joan Oumari makes case for Lebanon causing Asian Cup shock

  • Lebanon have made it to their first Asian Cup since 2000 and are up to 77th in world rankings.
  • Oumari feels the Cedars have what it takes to upset a few of the big guns.

LONDON: While much of the focus ahead of the Asian Cup will be on defending champions Australia, who are one of the favorites, along with Japan and South Korea, Lebanon’s Joan Oumari is hoping his side can grab people’s attention and cause a shock or two.
The Cedars’ last appearance at the tournament came back in 2000 when they were hosts — this is the first time they have qualified for the tournament on merit.
Since their FIFA world ranking fell to 147 in 2016, Lebanon have been one of Asia’s most improved and in-form teams, with their ranking jumping to its current position of 77 — the highest in their history.
Drawn alongside regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia, Qatar and North Korea in Group E, it will not be easy, but Oumari, one of their star players, is convinced they can put on a show when the tournament gets under way in January.
“I think when we play and stay like we are now we can go far,” the defender told Arab News. “In football everything is possible and we have a great team.”
Oumari knows that just being back at the Asian Cup after a 19-year absence is already a victory for the nation of six million people.
“For sure it is a great thing for us as a national team, but also for all the people (of Lebanon),” the 30-year-old said. “I hope we will write history and get very far in this tournament.”
Oumari’s journey to play for the Cedars is an interesting, and not unfamiliar one in the recent climate of war, family displacement and refugees. His parents, both born in Lebanon, fled the country during the civil war of the 1970s, making their way to Germany, where Oumari was born in 1988.
Starting his professional career in the lower divisions, he gradually worked his way through the professional tiers of club football in Germany, playing for SV Babelsberg in the fourth division, FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt in the third tier, before making the step up to FSV Frankfurt in 2.Bundesliga in 2013.
Along the way he came to the attention of the Lebanon Football Association, and when the invitation came to join the Cedars in 2013, there was no hesitation in accepting and representing the country of his heritage, if not his birth.
“When I got the invitation from the national team for sure I didn’t have to think about it,” he recalled. “I was very proud to play for the national team.”
His debut in a 2-0 win against Syria in September 2013 did not go to plan, however, getting sent off late in the game. His next appearance would not come for almost two years after Miodrag Radulovic had taken over as coach.
“To be honest it was my decision not to play for the national team for these two years,” he said.
“The main reason was our ex-coach (Giuseppe) Giannini, because after he invited me to the national team I was on the bench and I am not used to flying all over the world just to sit on the bench.
“I am not a player who sits on the bench in my club and not in the national team. After Mr. Radulovic started at the national team the federation called me and convinced me to come.”
The change in fortunes for the Cedars since Radulovic took over has been remarkable, and as it stands they are one of the most in-form teams in Asia, going 16 games without a loss dating back to March 2016.
A friendly match with defending Asian Cup champions Australia in Sydney next month will be sure to provide tougher competition, but given their form they travel to Sydney confident of causing an upset.
While the Asian Cup is within touching distance, Oumari’s immediate focus is on club matters and trying to help his side avoid relegation. Having made the move to Japan’s Sagan Tosu, becoming the first Lebanese player to play in the J.League, Oumari has been in and out of a side that has struggled for consistency and currently lie 17th in the 18-team league.
“I hope that we can avoid relegation and stay up, that’s why I came to help the team,” he said.
One of his new teammates in Japan is Spanish World Cup winner Fernando Torres, and despite the team’s struggles on the field, Oumari is loving his time in Japan.
“It’s really nice here and I like it very much,” he said. “I am enjoying the time with my teammates after training. For sure Fernando (Torres) is a great football player and any football player can learn from him no matter which position you are playing.”