Mohamed Salah said Sunday he is convinced he will win the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt “sooner or later” but admitted his country will need to improve if they are to do so at this year’s edition, where he is currently out injured.
The Liverpool forward spoke to reporters ahead of the Pharaohs’ decisive final group game against Cape Verde on Monday, which Egypt need to win to be sure of qualifying for the last 16.
But they will be without Salah for the game in Abidjan, as he recovers from the hamstring injury which forced him off in the first half of the team’s 2-2 draw with Ghana on Thursday.
“I would love to win it, absolutely,” Salah said when asked what it would mean to win the AFCON to add to the medals he has picked up at club level with Liverpool.
“I have won everything possible but this one not yet.
“It will happen somehow, that is what I believe, and whatever I believe I achieve, so sooner or later it will happen.”
Salah made his Egypt debut in 2011, a year after they won the last of their record seven Cup of Nations titles.
He played in the teams that lost the finals in Gabon in 2017, and at the last edition in Cameroon two years ago, and is now determined to go one step further this time.
“Everybody knows what it means to any player to win an Africa Cup,” the 31-year-old said.
“We were unlucky at the last one and also in Gabon. The players are very motivated to win the tournament. We all want to win it.”
However, Rui Vitoria’s team have not convinced so far in Ivory Coast, needing Salah’s injury-time penalty to draw 2-2 with Mozambique in their first match, and then having to come from behind twice to hold Ghana after Salah went off.
If they beat Cape Verde — who have already secured first place in Group B — Egypt will advance to a last-16 tie in San-Pedro on January 28.
Salah has already been ruled out of that game too, and is only expected to return for a quarter-final on February 2 or 3, should Egypt make it that far.
“At the end of the day we are not doing great at the moment but we have a fantastic team and a great coach, so we just need to stay focused,” Salah said.
“I believe that with hard work everything is possible, so we just need to win one game to qualify and we go from there.”
Of his own fitness, he added: “My injury is still there but the most important thing now is to speak about the game.
“We are very positive, we have great players and a great team, and we just need to fight and see what will happen.”
Salah’s place in the starting line-up could be taken by Mostafa Fathi of Cairo club Pyramids, who came on for him against Ghana.