Salah's AFCON 'Curse': Striker's Long Quest for Continental Glory Continues as Egypt Exit 2023 AFCON

Salah's AFCON 'Curse': Striker's Long Quest for Continental Glory Continues as Egypt Exit 2023 AFCON

Fred Kennedy
updated at January 30, 2024 at 8:58 AM
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  • Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has never won the Africa Cup of Nations
  • The Egyptian has twice come close to winning the continental showpiece
  • Egypt were recently eliminated from the 2023 AFCON in the Round of 16

Mohamed Salah's long wait to lay his hands on the Africa Cup of Nations trophy is set to continue after Egypt were bundled out of the 2023 edition of the tournament.

The Pharaohs had endured a shaky start to their AFCON campaign in Ivory Coast, sneaking through to the Round of 16 by sheer luck.

Mohamed Salah walks past the AFCON trophy after losing the final at Stade d'Olembe. Photo by Kenzo Tribouillard.
Mohamed Salah walks past the AFCON trophy after losing the final at Stade d'Olembe. Photo by Kenzo Tribouillard.
Source: Getty Images

The North African football powerhouse was pooled in Group B of the competition alongside Cape Verde, the Black Stars of Ghana, and Mozambique.

Egypt made it to the knockouts after finishing second with three points from three draws and was subsequently drawn against DR Congo, who also finished second in Group F.

However, the Rui Vitoria-tutored side were unable to make it past the Round of 16 after losing post-match penalties following a 1-1 draw during regulation time.

According to The Guardian, DR Congo's win in the tie saw them set up a quarter-final fixture against Guinea, with Egypt's elimination denying Salah yet another chance to lift the tournament.

Mohamed Salah's AFCON 'curse'

Widely regarded as one of Africa’s best footballers, Salah made his international debut with Egypt back in 2011.

The striker failed to qualify for both the 2013 and 2015 editions of the continental showpiece.

However, they finally qualified for the 2017 edition and went all the way to the final, where they lost 2-1 to Cameroon.

Despite their encouraging finish in 2017, Egypt were unable to turn up in 2019 and were subsequently eliminated in the Round of 16 after falling to a 1-0 defeat against South Africa.

In 2021, Salah inspired the side to the final, but the forward's dream of finally lifting the title was shattered by Sadio Mane's Senegal, who beat them in a penalty shootout after a goalless draw. At the time, Salah missed a crucial penalty.

Salah's 2023 AFCON journey

Meanwhile, the former Roma striker has not been heavily involved in Egypt's AFCON campaign in Ivory Coast.

Despite scoring in the opening game against Mozambique from the penalty spot, the 31-year-old was unable to find the back of the net in the second fixture against Ghana.

Incidentally, this was also the same time he picked up an injury that ruled him out of the final group game against Cape Verde.

According to SPORTbible, Salah was expected to miss two games before it emerged that his injury was more serious than earlier thought.

The 31-year-old left the tournament prematurely and flew back to England for treatment.

Salah slammed by Egypt legend

Earlier, Sports Brief reported on Egypt icon Hossam Hassan joining the likes of Wael Gomaa in criticising Salah for returning to Liverpool.

Hassan, who won the AFCON with Egypt in 1986, 1998, and 2006, suggested that Salah's decision to leave the AFCON camp after injury would affect the team.

Authors
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Fred Kennedy
Fred Kennedy has a Bachelor's degree in journalism (Daystar University), currently working as a Sports Editor. He has more than five years of experience in digital journalism.