Mohamed Salah's agent has reiterated no decision has been taken on whether the Liverpool star will represent Egypt at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Egypt Under-23 boss Shawky Gharib confirmed his intention to select Salah as one of three overage players for the football tournament at the Games, though he did concede he has not yet held talks with the player himself.

Speaking last month, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp said "it would not be too cool" if Salah were travel to Japan and that the call had yet to be made.

That was a message emphasised again by Salah's agent Ramy Abbas Issa on social media, who quote tweeted a report saying the 27-year-old would be selected with the message: "No decision has been made yet."

If Salah were to represent Egypt it would leave Liverpool without their key forward for pre-season and perhaps some of the beginning of the Premier League campaign.

The gold medal match is scheduled to take place on August 8, the same day as the start of the top-flight season in England.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mohamed Salah will face off in the second round of qualifying for World Cup 2022, with Gabon and Egypt drawn in the same group.

Salah's Egypt and Aubameyang's Gabon will join Libya and Angola in Group F in the second phase of African qualifying for the finals in Qatar.

Group D pits Cameroon and Ivory Coast together along with Mozambique and Malawi, while Nigeria will face Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic and Liberia in Group C.

Africa Cup of Nations holders Algeria will meet Burkina Faso, Niger and Djibouti in Group A, while 2019's beaten finalists Senegal were drawn with Congo, Namibia and Togo in Group H.

Group G sees Ghana and South Africa pitted against Zimbabwe and Ethiopia.

The group phase runs from March 2020 until October next year, with the 10 group winners drawn into five two-legged knockout ties to be played next November.

 

Groups in full:

Group A: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Djibouti
Group B: Tunisia, Zambia, Mauritania, Equatorial Guinea
Group C: Nigeria, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Liberia
Group D: Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Malawi
Group E: Mali, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda
Group F: Egypt, Gabon, Libya, Angola
Group G: Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia
Group H: Senegal, Congo, Namibia, Togo
Group I: Morocco, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan
Group J: Congo DR, Benin, Madagascar, Tanzania.

 

Mohamed Salah is targeting a third consecutive African Player of the Year trophy after being named on the preliminary list of nominees for the 2019 award.

Salah defended his crown last year after scoring 44 goals for Liverpool and Egypt in 2018 and finishing as the 2017-18 Premier League Golden Boot winner with 32 goals.

The 27-year-old faces competition for this year's honour from Reds team-mate Sadio Mane. The Senegal international was joint top scorer in the Premier League last season with 22 goals alongside Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has also been named on the 30-strong list.

Manchester City and Algeria forward Riyad Mahrez, who won the award in 2016, is also included on the list announced by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Aubameyang's Arsenal colleague Nicolas Pepe of the Ivory Coast is another on the list, along with Leicester City's Nigerian midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and Paris Saint-Germain's Idrissa Gueye, who represents Senegal.

Other prominent Europe-based players nominated are Ajax duo Andre Onana and Hakim Ziyech, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey and Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.

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.

Jurgen Klopp was furious with Hamza Choudhury for a late challenge on Mohamed Salah that saw the Liverpool winger hobble out of his side's Premier League win against Leicester City. 

Liverpool snatched a last-gasp victory at home to Leicester through James Milner's 95th-minute penalty, moving eight points clear of champions Manchester City ahead of their fixture at home to Wolves on Sunday. 

The award of the stoppage-time spot-kick was hotly contested by Leicester, but VAR sided with referee Chris Kavanagh after Marc Albrighton tangled with Sadio Mane, who earlier opened the scoring before James Maddison's equaliser. 

Rather than discuss the decisive call of the contest, though, Klopp preferred to focus on Choudhury's rash lunge on Salah, for which the midfielder earned only a yellow card. 

Klopp cited an earlier incident involving Newcastle United’s Matt Ritchie as he questioned Choudhury's intentions in a clash with Salah that left Liverpool waiting for news on their star man. 

"It was a clear penalty, I stand here and should be only happy because of the way the boys did it," he told Sky Sports, adding: "But I cannot get over the Choudhury yellow card. 

"He should know better. He maybe was unlucky with Ritchie, but he has to calm down. You cannot only go for the man, a yellow card. 

"Mo is lying in the dressing room. How can he be okay? We don't know how he is, but that's hard. 

"Three years in a row, we've been the team with the lowest yellow cards, we don't do these things. But that's really not okay." 

Choudhury was sent off for England Under-21s at the European Championships in June following an awful challenge on France's Jonathan Bamba, who suffered ankle ligament damage. 

The Leicester midfielder was then only booked for a tackle on Newcastle’s Ritchie in August which Steve Bruce described as a "horror challenge", with the Scotland international still out of action. 

Salah had been set for a period of rest during the upcoming international break regardless, with Egypt confirming his absence from their upcoming camp. 

"The technical team of the national team confirmed the decision to exempt Liverpool star Mohamed Salah from joining the current camp with the desire to rest him and ease the burden of games in this period in order to recover and get rid of the stress resulting from his successive participation with his club, so that he is in full physical and mental health to participate in the next official commitments," a statement from the Egyptian Football Association read. 

FIFA has hit out at "unfair and misleading" reports about votes not being counted towards its The Best awards.

Nominations for Mohamed Salah from Egypt's captain and coach were not included, while Nicaragua captain Juan Barrera claimed on Twitter he did not vote although his name is listed on FIFA's official documentation.

FIFA said this week in a statement released to Omnisport that Egypt's votes were not counted as they seemed "not valid" due to signatures in capital letters and world football's governing body has again moved to clarify the issue.

"FIFA has been disappointed to see a number of reports in the media questioning the integrity of the voting process for The Best FIFA Football Awards," said a statement on Friday. "These reports are unfair and misleading. 

"The voting procedure for each of the awards is supervised and monitored by an independent observer, in this case PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Switzerland.

"FIFA and PwC follow the Rules of Allocation and relevant standard control procedures. As per these procedures, FIFA requested all member associations to submit their voting forms both electronically and in writing.

"The written documents must also be signed by the responsible persons of the association as well as by the persons authorised to vote. Therefore in order for a vote to be valid it must include the respective signatures and the member association's stamp.

"Both FIFA and the independent observer can demonstrate that all the votes submitted in accordance with the rules and within the deadlines were taken into account. Consequently, there is no doubt whatsoever as to the authenticity of the result. 

"Should there have been any case of wrong-doing, and even if this did not affect the result of the vote, FIFA will investigate and apply sanctions where necessary."

Salah appeared to be upset when FIFA's full list of voting was released without his country's selections, reportedly removing a reference to Egypt from his Twitter bio.

He also posted a cryptic message that read: "Whatever they do to try to change my love for Egypt, they will not succeed."

FIFA has explained why some votes for Mohamed Salah to win The Best FIFA Men's Player award was not counted.

Liverpool star Salah did not finish in the top three of the ballot, with his nominations from Egypt's captain and coach not included.

Salah appeared to be upset when FIFA's full list of voting was released without his country's selections.

He reportedly removed a reference to Egypt from his Twitter bio and posted a cryptic message that read: "Whatever they do to try to change my love for Egypt, they will not succeed."

FIFA moved to clarify why those particular votes for Salah were not counted in a statement released to Omnisport on Thursday.

The governing body said: "During the monitoring of the votes submitted by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) on August 15, it was remarked that the signatures on the voting forms were in capital letters and thus seemed not valid (not authentic). The voting forms were also not signed by the general secretary which is mandatory."

FIFA added the President's Office of the EFA, which has undergone recent structural changes, was contacted about the issue, with no response received in time for the votes to count.

Further questions have been asked of FIFA about the voting process for The Best awards.

Nicaragua captain Juan Barrera claimed on Twitter he did not vote although his name is listed on FIFA's official document, which says he chose Lionel Messi, Sadio Mane and Cristiano Ronaldo as his top three.

"We have checked the voting documents submitted by the Nicaraguan FA and all documents are signed and confirmed with the official stamp of the Nicaraguan FA," FIFA said.

"Having compared with the vote sheets submitted by the federation and the ones we have published on FIFA.com... we confirm that we have the right votes signed by the player.

"We are asking the Nicaraguan Football Federations to inquire on this matter."

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.

Egypt sacked head coach Javier Aguirre following their shock elimination in the round of 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Aguirre's Egypt were left stunned on Saturday as the AFCON hosts lost 1-0 to South Africa in Cairo, where the Pharaohs failed to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2004.

Afterwards, Egyptian Football Association (EFA) president Hany Abou-Rida announced his resignation and confirmed the departure of the entire technical and administrative staff.

Despite his resignation, Abou-Rida – who also called for members of the board to step down – said he will continue in his position as head of the organising committee of the 2019 AFCON.

Egypt appointed Mexican boss Aguirre following their group-stage exit at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Former Japan and Mexico coach Aguirre signed a four-year deal to replace Hector Cuper last year.

"Of course I am responsible," the 60-year-old reporters post-match on Saturday.

"We are all upset about the early elimination and I bear all the consequences because I chose the players and the formation."

South Africa are into the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations after a shock 1-0 win over hosts Egypt in Cairo.

Thembinkosi Lorch struck in the closing stages to stun Javier Aguirre's side and keep alive their challenge to become continental champions for just the second time.

Stuart Baxter's side came in for heavy criticism during the group stage as they scraped through despite losing to Ivory Coast and Morocco, but they responded with a disciplined and clinical display that saw them keep Mohamed Salah quiet and make the most of Lorch's late opening.

They will face Nigeria in last eight after the Super Eagles earlier saw off Cameroon 3-2 in a thriller.

Percy Tau's dipping free-kick was brilliantly tipped over by Mohamed El-Shenawy as the half begun in lively fashion.

The best chance of the first 45 minutes fell to Trezeguet, who could only shoot tamely at Ronwen Williams after being set up by Salah following a quick break.

Trezeguet was again set up six yards from goal after a brilliant pass from Salah early in the second half, but his finish was once more a poor one.

Egypt were beginning to assume more control on proceedings but creating chances was still posing a problem, and South Africa captain Thulani Hlatshwayo was only feet from finding the bottom-left corner with a header from a Lorch delivery.

As Egypt continued to throw caution to the wind, they were stung on the break with five minutes of normal time to go. A well-worked move saw Lebo Mothiba stride into space and square the ball for Lorch, who kept his composure to side-foot past El-Shenawy and send his side into the last eight.

Egypt boss Javier Aguirre challenged Mohamed Salah to keep the host nation on course for Africa Cup of Nations glory and strengthen his claim to be crowned the world's best player - if he recovers from illness.

The Pharaohs continue their quest for a record-extending eighth continental crown with a last-16 clash against 1996 champions South Africa in Cairo on Saturday.

Salah played a key part in Egypt's serene progression to the knockout stages, scoring in the 2-0 wins over Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda that followed a slender 1-0 victory against Zimbabwe in their Group A opener.

And Aguirre claimed the Liverpool forward, who missed Thursday's training session with a cold as a precautionary measure, will be the frontrunner to win the Ballon d'Or if he can cap another fine season by adding an AFCON title to his collection.

"Salah is a very modest person, an extraordinary player and has a nice personality with his team-mates," Aguirre told Cadena Ser.

"I see him so far struggling and struggling hard to win the Ballon d'Or. Why not? He is a Champions League winner with Liverpool. If he can lead Egypt to the African Cup of Nations, no one can keep the Ballon d'Or away from him."

Salah, a beaten finalist with Egypt two years ago, was told to sit out training two days before the game "so as not to worsen his condition".

But he will be given every chance of starting the last of the round-of-16 ties, with the winners at the Cairo International Stadium going on to face Nigeria or Cameroon in the quarters.

With or without Salah in Egypt's ranks, South Africa boss Stuart Baxter acknowledged the size of the task awaiting his side, who lost two of their three group games.

"My players know they can do a little bit better and they know they can be more efficient," Baxter said. "In the final third they know they can improvise a little bit more and I think they are looking forward to that challenge.

"Against the home nation, that may all fall to the ground if they overwhelm us, but I don’t think that is going to happen."

 

Monthiversary pic.twitter.com/jmQADm3dHf

— Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) July 2, 2019 PLAYERS TO WATCH

Egypt - Mohamed Salah

There is no playing down the importance of Salah to this Egypt side. He has been involved in six of their past 10 AFCON goals - four of his own and two assists - and his fitness is key to the hosts' hopes of progressing.

South Africa - Percy Tau

Tau set up Bongani Zungu's winner against Namibia - his side's only goal in Egypt thus far. Heralded as one of the players to watch in the finals, a big performance is required from Brighton and Hove Albion forward if he is to seriously leave his mark on this year's competition.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This will be the third meeting between Egypt and South Africa in the Africa Cup of Nations. The Pharaohs have won the previous two (1-0 in the group stages in 1996 and 2-0 in the 1998 final).
- Egypt have qualified for the next stage in 11 of their last 12 games in the knockout phase of the Africa Cup of Nations (W9 D2).
- South Africa have won only two of their previous 18 AFCON games (D7 L9).

Lionel Messi, Neymar and World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe are among the final players named on the 30-man Ballon d'Or shortlist. 

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