Egypt Olympic team coach Shawky Gharib has confirmed that he has included Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah in his provisional squad for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Liverpool’s main concern with that decision is that the final of the tournament is scheduled for 8 August, which is the first day of the 2020/21 Premier League season. Even if Egypt do not reach the final, Salah’s preparation for the season will obviously be hugely disrupted.
Gharib is eager to include Salah as he wants to give his side the best possible chance of victory, but he told Reuters that the final decision will be left with Liverpool.
“Salah’s participation with the Pharaohs in Tokyo is a decision to be taken only by Salah, his club Liverpool and his coach Jürgen Klopp,” he said.
“We cannot force Salah to participate with us because FIFA regulations do not compel him to participate.
“Salah is one of the top three players in the world and any team hopes to have a player of his capabilities and skills in the squad … I have chosen Salah in an expanded list of 50 players to select 18 players heading to Tokyo.
“The final list that will include 18 players will be sent next June, so it is too early to talk about the names of the 18 players.”
Salah’s agent, Ramy Abbas Issa, took to Twitter to insist that ‘no decision has been made yet’, but it is clear that Gharib wants the winger in his squad.
Gharib also told ON Sport (via the Daily Mail): “Out of the three senior players we’ll call-up, Salah is the only one we’re settled on so far because he’s simply one of the top three players in the world.
“I haven’t talked to Salah at all about him joining the Under-23 squad for the Olympics, but in all honesty, his participation in the Olympics will need a little effort from him as well.”