Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has been ruled out of Egypt's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Kenya and Comoros due to a persistent ankle injury.

Salah has been managing an issue since hobbling out of Liverpool's win over Leicester City last month, having been on the end of a rugged late challenge from Hamza Choudhury.

The 27-year-old looked to be in pain again in Sunday's mammoth clash with Manchester City.

He was caught by Fernandinho during Liverpool's 3-1 victory, initially staying down before playing on until the 87th minute, and was seen with his foot strapped up at full-time.

Salah joined up with his international team-mates on Monday, but the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has announced Salah will play no part against Kenya or Comoros.

"Medical tests have confirmed Salah is not ready for Kenya and Comoros," a statement on the EFA's official Twitter page read.

Salah has nine goals in all competitions for Liverpool this season, including five in his past seven outings.

Egypt face Kenya in Alexandria in their first qualifier of the group stage on Thursday before travelling to Moroni four days later.

Egypt have appointed Hossam El-Badry as their new coach.

The three-time Al Ahly boss succeeds Javier Aguirre in the role.

Aguirre was dismissed after Egypt's disappointing performance at this year's Africa Cup of Nations.

Egypt won all three of their group games without conceding a goal but Mohamed Salah and his side then suffered a shock exit, losing 1-0 to South Africa.

El-Badry, a former defender who played international football for Egypt, won the 2012 CAF Champions League in his second spell at Al Ahly.

They were beaten in the final two years ago and he left the club in May 2018 despite winning the Egyptian league title.

Vahid Halilhodzic has been named as Morocco's new head coach, replacing Herve Renard at the helm for the Atlas Lions.

Morocco had been on the lookout for a coach since the resignation last month of Renard, who has since taken over the Saudi Arabia national team.

Renard quit following Morocco's shock Africa Cup of Nations last-16 defeat to Benin.

The vastly experienced Halilhodzic has arrived in his place, having most recently coached Nantes in Ligue 1, where he previously led Paris Saint-Germain from 2003 to 2005.

Halilhodzic boasts a varied background on his international CV, having guided Ivory Coast, Algeria and Japan to World Cup qualification.

Upon his appointment, confirmed by the Moroccan FA on Thursday, the 67-year-old said: "Coaching Morocco is a big responsibility and an honour.

"My first objective is to qualify for the World Cup. I will try to qualify a fourth consecutive national team."

The Moroccan FA said on its website that Halilhodzic has signed a four-year contract.

One of Halilhodzic's first coaching roles saw him in charge at Raja Casablanca, one of Morocco's biggest clubs, as they won the CAF Champions League in 1997.

Pep Guardiola revealed Riyad Mahrez cut short his holiday following the Africa Cup of Nations, giving Manchester City a boost as Bernardo Silva dealt with an issue at West Ham on Saturday.

Mahrez captained Algeria to the AFCON title on July 19 but returned to start against West Ham in City's Premier League opener, providing two assists in a 5-0 win.

Guardiola was delighted to be able to call on the former Leicester City winger as he revealed Silva, a star of last season's title success, was left on the bench due to "little muscular problems".

"Riyad called me after they won [the AFCON]," Guardiola said. "He said, 'I need just 10 days. I want to come back soon. I want to play'. I like it. That's why I decide, 'Okay, I want to play him'.

"Bernardo had done nothing wrong, but there was some little muscular problems.

"I want them to know I trust all of them. That is the truth. After four seasons, I don't not like one player who is with us. I trust with them and they have to compete with opponents and with each other."

From West Ham's side, the post-match narrative involved complaints of City's apparent tactical fouling, with Manuel Pellegrini attributing this to his team's lack of creativity.

But Jack Wilshere had no issue with City's tactics, suggesting West Ham need to learn from such elite opponents.

"That's football," he said. "When you play against experienced players who understand the game, it's going to happen

"You can't get frustrated. They're clever players. A team like us who like to attack could learn from that. They do that counter press. They lose the ball and bang, they go straight away.

"They're going to make fouls. If you do get out of it, it happens so quickly and they bring you down."

Stuart Baxter has resigned from his post as coach of South Africa with immediate effect.

South Africa shocked Africa Cup of Nations hosts Egypt en route to the quarter-finals in June, but Baxter, whose second spell in charge of Bafana Bafana began in 2017, believes the time is right to move aside.

The former Finland and Kaizer Chief's boss has said it is the correct time for South Africa to move into a new cycle, as focus switches to qualification for the 2021 AFCON and 2022 World Cup.

"I feel it's time for someone else to take over and I have decided to resign from my position. It is my personal decision," Baxter told BBC Sport.

"Going to the AFCON, this squad had not lost in a year, something that was not easy considering we were introducing new players.

"I've chosen not to point fingers and I will refrain from that. Choosing not to answer some misleading media coverage is something that's also hard to do."

South Africa beat Egypt 1-0 before going out to Nigeria in the quarter-finals have scraped through from their group after losing two matches.

Herve Renard has resigned as coach of Morocco after three and a half years in charge.

The Royal Moroccan Football Federation earlier this week denied reports the Frenchman had stepped down, but Renard used social media on Sunday to confirm he has left his post.

Morocco endured a disappointing Africa Cup of Nations campaign, exiting the competition in shock circumstances in the round of 16 with a 4-1 penalty shoot-out defeat to Benin following a 1-1 draw.

The 50-year-old took over the Atlas Lions in February 2016 and guided them to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, their first qualification in 20 years.

"Morocco will always remain for me a country with which I lived incredible emotions," he wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. "I am proud of what we have achieved and how far we have managed to come.

"It is time for me to close this long and beautiful chapter of my life, not without emotion and sadness, but it is an inevitable decision taken well before AFCON 2019."

Renard has led both Zambia and Ivory Coast to AFCON glory during his coaching career.

Djamel Belmadi revelled in Algeria's "extraordinary, historic" Africa Cup of Nations final victory over Senegal.

Algeria became champions of Africa on foreign soil for the first time - adding to their 1990 success as hosts - thanks to Baghdad Bounedjah's decisive, deflected second-minute strike.

Belmadi believes his side deserved their triumph but deflected praise onto his players.

"It's extraordinary. It's historic," he told beIN Sports. "This is the first Cup of Nations we have won outside our borders.

"Since 1990, it has been a long, empty passage. We are a football country. We deserve it, I think.

"It was a very complicated match, very difficult. We knew that it was going to be decided on a small detail. And the boys held on.

"With the tournament we had, with better attack and better defence, what more? But without the players, I am nothing.

"We tend to forget that they are the main protagonists. They are the ones who play, who apply the instructions. They did it wonderfully - if not better."

Algeria became Africa Cup of Nations champions for a second time as they edged Senegal 1-0 in a scrappy final on Friday.

Djamel Belmadi's side needed a sensational last-gasp Riyad Mahrez winner to beat Nigeria in the last four, but it was a scrappy early strike that decided this clash as Baghdad Bounedjah benefited from a huge deflection.

Further chances were few and far between in an ill-tempered affair as Algeria withstood almost constant pressure and also saw a Senegal penalty award overturned with VAR.

The single goal ultimately proved enough to hold on, Algeria triumphing on foreign soil for the first time to add to their 1990 success as hosts.

Algeria's fortuitous opener arrived inside two minutes. Bounedjah cut inside from the left and saw a powerful strike loop up off the lunging Salif Sane, dropping over static goalkeeper Alfred Gomis into the top-right corner.

Senegal responded well, getting into dangerous positions and winning countless free-kicks, mainly through Sadio Mane, but their final ball was repeatedly found wanting.

Frustrations threatened to boil over late in the first half, with Mane escaping punishment for an off-the-ball shove on Sofiane Feghouli, although M'Baye Niang went close with a fizzing long-range drive.

The two sides came together to confront the referee at the break - Senegal bemoaning a non-penalty award for Ismaila Sarr - and Algeria substitute goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja went down claiming contact in the ensuing fracas.

And Senegal were further infuriated on the hour mark when a spot-kick initially awarded as Adlene Guedioura blocked Sarr's cross with his arm was struck off following a VAR review.

Niang rounded Rais M'bolhi but could only blaze high and wide, before the goalkeeper turned Youssouf Sabaly's blast over the crossbar.

Aliou Cisse's side kept pushing, yet there was no way through and Algeria clung to a scarcely deserved victory.

John Obi Mikel has announced his retirement from international football after helping Nigeria to third place in the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Super Eagles lost to Algeria in the last four in Egypt, but atoned for that disappointment to a degree with a 1-0 win over Tunisia in the third place play-off.

That game marked the last appearance in a Nigeria shirt for Mikel, who confirmed the end of his career for his country in a post on Instagram.

It read: "Egypt is a country where I've started and have finished my national career. In 2006 I played my first official championship for my country. [The] 2019 Africa Cup of Nations marks my last championship for national team with Super Eagles. 

"My national career started in 2003 [at the] under-17 World Cup and I'm grateful for the national team for placing me on the world arena and giving me an opportunity to show my skill and have an incredible national and international career.

"At the age of 32 it's time for me to retire from the national team and let the youth take over, who've done an amazing job securing a bronze medal at AFCON 2019. 

"Thank you to all my Nigerian supporters and to my country for all the trust, support and love you've shown me over the past 15 years.

"Mikel am out!"

MIkel won the AFCON in 2013 and collected a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games, while he also featured for the Super Eagles at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.

Old friends Aliou Cisse and Djamel Belmadi go up against each other for a shot at history as the two coaches take centre stage ahead of Friday's Africa Cup of Nations final.

There is little doubt Cisse's Senegal and Belmadi's Algeria have been the two standout sides at the 2019 AFCON, suffering just one defeat combined.

That single loss came in the group phase when Algeria defeated the Teranga Lions 1-0, with Senegal now having the opportunity for revenge.

But do not expect vengeance borne out of animosity to be on the mind of Cisse, as he and Belmadi know each other well having been former Ligue 1 adversaries.

The two coaches grew up in the same Paris suburb, Champigny-sur-Marne, while Senegal-born Cisse is just a day older than his counterpart.

Having had numerous tussles in their youth, in domestic French football and also at the AFCON as players, the two now do battle again with historic achievements on the line; Senegal hope to win the tournament for the first time, while Algeria have never lifted the trophy without being hosts.

"I haven't spoken to Aliou," Belmadi told reporters on Thursday. "It's not the time to talk right now, but we will talk after the game. Before the game also, there will be no problem.

"It's extraordinarily ironic that the two kids who grew up together in Champigny-Sur-Marne are now facing each other in the final. We should check if anything like that ever happened in the past.

"We used to play together as young boys in Paris. We grew up in the same city.

"It's amazing that we are now the head coaches for our national teams. Fate brought us to this final. It has a special taste."

Cisse remained entirely fixed on the task at hand, however, and is convinced the early defeat to Algeria has served a purpose by allowing Senegal to learn more about themselves.

"The second group match was a misstep on our part and this defeat allowed us to regroup, to be even stronger," Cisse said.

"Friday is a final, it's a special match, but it's not a question of holding a speech like going to war. We stay in football. We are very calm and focused."

Senegal will be without the suspended Kalidou Koulibaly, though Cisse insists he has a plan to cope without the Napoli star.

"Kalidou is one of the best in his position in the world, but we have the solution to replace him. We are ready," Cisse added.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Senegal – Cheikhou Kouyate

With key man Koulibaly absent, extra responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Kouyate. The experienced midfielder, who has featured as a centre-back at the AFCON, will likely be the senior figure in a defence that needs to stay alert – Algeria's forward options have been lively and potent throughout the tournament.

Algeria – Riyad Mahrez

While he has not necessarily lit the tournament up consistently, Mahrez's glorious late free-kick secured Algeria's spot in the final. It was his third goal of the competition, proving that even when he is not at his very best, he can still be an inspirational figure.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Algeria are unbeaten against Senegal in four AFCON encounters (winning three, drawing one). Moreover, the Teranga Lions are the team the Fennec Foxes have faced most without losing to in the AFCON.
- Senegal will play their second AFCON final, after 2002 (defeat to Cameroon). The Senegalese have won their last four games, their longest winning streak in the competition.
- Algeria will play their third AFCON final after 1980 (a 3-0 defeat to Nigeria) and 1990 (a 1-0 win, also against the Super Eagles). They have conceded two goals in the 2019 AFCON, only in 1984 have they conceded fewer in a single edition, whey they finished third, letting in one goal.
- Senegal forward Sadio Mane is the player who has attempted (34) and completed (20) the most dribbles.
- Nine Algeria players have been involved in at least one goal (excluding own goals) during the 2019 AFCON: Youcef Atal, Youcef Belaili, Ismael Bennacer, Ramy Bensebaini, Baghdad Bounedjah, Sofiane Feghouli, Riyad Mahrez, Adam Ounas and Islam Slimani. That is more than any other team.

Jurgen Klopp is wary of Sadio Mane's lack of rest heading into the new season, with the Liverpool star's campaign yet to come to an end.

On the back of a gruelling 2018-19 campaign, Premier League Golden Boot joint-winner Mane has scored three goals to help Senegal to the Africa Cup of Nations final.

Friday's showdown with Algeria in Cairo ends a season which has lasted close to 12 months for the 27-year-old, who also featured for his nation at the 2018 World Cup.

Liverpool's season starts on August 4 with the Community Shield clash against Premier League champions Manchester City at Wembley.

Newly promoted Norwich City then travel to Anfield on August 9, in the opening Premier League fixture of 2019-20.

And Klopp acknowledged his concern over Mane's readiness for the new season, confirming Liverpool are yet to decide when Mane will return to the fold.

"With Sadio, we have to see about him after the final – how he is feeling and stuff like that," Klopp told Liverpool's official website.

"It will be really difficult. Sixteen days before we play City, his season is finished. We will have to make a decision, but we haven't made it yet."

While Mane's return date is yet to be established, Klopp – whose squad are on tour in the United States – revealed Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and goalkeeper Alisson will return for a training camp in Evian later in July.

The trio have all been afforded extended breaks following their participation in the AFCON and Copa America respectively, with Klopp confident they will have enough time to prepare for the City fixture.

"It means we have nearly a week until City, a strong 12 days until Norwich and then 15 or 16 days until Chelsea [in the UEFA Super Cup]," Klopp said.

"We have to see. The good thing is, when you have a short break you don’t lose a lot. 

"I would have preferred it if they had come back after a week, but that would make absolutely no sense. So, [they have] these three weeks and then we will have them here for pre-season."

Odion Ighalo was gifted an early goal as Nigeria claimed third place in the Africa Cup of Nations with a 1-0 victory over Tunisia.

Aiming to maintain their perfect record in AFCON third-place play-offs, Nigeria were presented with the lead when Tunisia goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia and defender Yassine Meriah combined to tee up Ighalo.

Wahbi Khazri looked sharp as Tunisia rallied, and created his side's best chance when he set up Firas Chaouat for what should have been a simple finish early in the second half.

Chaouat could not take advantage, though, and while Ben Cherifia's excellent save from Samuel Chukwueze kept Tunisia's hopes alive, Nigeria had little trouble holding on to their lead.

Nigeria had the lead inside three minutes, Ighalo tucking home after Ben Cherifia and Meriah made a mess of Jamilu Collins' cross.

Tunisia responded well and would have been level had Ferjani Sassi's header not been cleared off the line.

Ighalo's game came to an end at half-time - the former Watford striker appearing to suffer a hamstring injury.

Khazri's superb throughball put Chaouat through on goal a minute into the second half, but with only the goalkeeper to beat, Tunisia's substitute lashed into the side netting.

Chukwueze's long-range strike looked to be creeping in just after the hour, but Ben Cherifia made a superb save at full stretch.

Ghilane Chaalali bundled himself into shooting range as full-time approached, though a weak effort wide of the upright was all he could muster as Tunisia ended their tournament with a whimper.

Cameroon have sacked coach Clarence Seedorf and his assistant Patrick Kluivert after the Indomitable Lions' last-16 exit at the Africa Cup of Nations. 

The 2017 AFCON champions produced a weak defence of their title in Egypt, exiting courtesy of a 3-2 loss to Nigeria having won just one of their three games in Group F. 

That has resulted in former AC Milan and Netherlands stars Seedorf and Kluivert losing their jobs less than a year after being hired. 

Seedorf was in charge for 10 games, winning three, drawing four and losing three. 

A statement from the Cameroon Football Federation's president Seidou Mbombo Njoya said: "In the wake of the premature elimination of Cameroon from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, the Cameroon Football Federation, in conformity with the stipulations of the resolutive condition of their respective employment contracts, has decided to terminate the duties of coach Clarence Seedorf and his assistant Patrick Kluivert with immediate effect." 

The Cameroon job was Seedorf's fourth coaching role in football, with the 43-year-old having previously had short stints in charge of Milan, Shenzhen and Deportivo La Coruna. 

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr was not disheartened by his team's semi-final defeat, convinced the Super Eagles pushed Algeria all the way as they prepare to tussle with Tunisia in the Africa Cup of Nations third-place play-off.

Rohr's men looked to have forced an extra 30 minutes in their last-four clash on Sunday, as Odion Ighalo's 72nd-minute penalty cancelled out William Troost-Ekong's first-half own goal.

But Riyad Mahrez struck at the end with a gorgeous free-kick, sending Algeria – who have not lost at this year's tournament – into the final, where they will face Senegal.

Although the prospect of a third-place finish is rather underwhelming given how close they were to a final spot, Rohr insists he is not disappointed by Nigeria's showing, pointing out how they shaded Algeria in several areas last time out.

"After our loss to Algeria, we were a bit disappointed because it's disappointing when you lose a game in the last seconds," he told a news conference on Tuesday.

"We've analysed the match, we saw the video with the players yesterday [Monday] and we saw also it was a good match and we gave a good fight.

"The statistics were even better for us, because we had 11 shots on goal, they had only six. We had better possession of the ball against probably the best team so far in the tournament.

"So, losing to them is not a shame and we have to be positive as we want to finish this competition well together."

Tunisia's semi-final was similarly close, as they were defeated 1-0 by Senegal thanks to a Dylan Bronn own goal in extra time.

Most of the Carthage Eagles' matches in the tournament have been tight, with their 3-0 quarter-final win over minnows Madagascar the only game they have emerged victorious from in 90 minutes.

Having gone into extra time twice so far, coach Alain Giresse accepts his side might be struggling with fatigue, suggesting Nigeria may have a physical edge on Wednesday.

"The match will be very difficult, physically and technically," Giresse said. "We'll try everything we can to finish third.

"Of course, we wanted to reach the final, but now we focus on the third-place match. I can't say all my players are perfectly fit, we have a little time to know how ready the players are."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tunisia - Wahbi Khazri

Even though he was a little quieter than usual against Senegal, Khazri was still one of Tunisia's more threatening players, creating three opportunities. Giresse will certainly be looking to him to make the difference.

Nigeria - Samuel Chukwueze

A lively, dazzling winger at his very best, Chukwueze has simmered at the AFCON without truly exploding. Nevertheless, he crafted three scoring chances against Algeria, more than any of his team-mates.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Nigeria have never lost against Tunisia in four encounters in the AFCON (W2 D2). They will face each other for a third-place game in the competition for the second time after 1978 (Nigeria won 2-0).
- Tunisia have won only one of their three third-place games in the AFCON (D1 L1). It was in 1962 against Uganda (3-0).
- Nigeria have won each of their six third-place games. The Super Eagles can become the team with the most third-place games played in the tournament (seven).
- Tunisia's midfielder Youssef Msakni is the only player involved in at least one goal in each of the last six AFCON editions. He has completed 93.3 per cent of his dribbles in the 2019 event, the highest ratio among players with more than five dribbles attempted.
- Ighalo has been involved in five goals in the 2019 AFCON (four goals, one assist), more than any other player. The striker has been involved in 63 per cent of Nigeria's goals in this edition (five of eight).

The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) has denied reports claiming Morocco coach Herve Renard has resigned.

Morocco endured a disappointing Africa Cup of Nations campaign, exiting the competition in the round of 16 with a 4-1 penalty shoot-out defeat to Benin following a 1-1 draw.

And reports emerged on Monday suggesting former Lille and Ivory Coast coach Renard had stepped down from his post following the underwhelming showing.

However, the FRMF denied the speculation by insisting Renard - who took charge of the Atlas Lions in 2016 - is still in charge.

The FRMF did, though, confirm meetings were held with Renard to review Morocco's AFCON performance.

"The Royal Moroccoan Football Federation denies the news that is currently being circulated about the resignation of Herve Renard from the training of the national team," a statement website read.

"It is worth mentioning that the president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation held two meetings on Sunday and Monday with Mr Renard to evaluate the participation of the national team in the African Cup of Nations in Egypt."

Renard, 50, has led both Zambia and Ivory Coast to Africa Cup of Nations glory during his coaching career.

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