Egypt Under 23 boss Shawky Gharib has confirmed that Mo Salah has indicated that he does want to turn out for his country at this summer’s Olympics.
Speculation has rumbled on for some time as to whether or not the Liverpool ace would accept an invitation to be one of Egypt’s three overage players which would subsequently see him miss some of Liverpool’s pre-season preparations. According to Gharib, that now looks set to happen.
Egypt have requested that Liverpool release the 28-year-old forward, but under current rules they are not obliged to, although it is highly unlikely that Reds’ boss Jürgen Klopp would block the player’s participation despite publicly expressing his disapproval earlier this year.
Back in February, Klopp said: “Do I want to lose a player in the pre-season? No. Of course not. But we have to consider different things. I will speak with Mo and all that stuff.
“We are completely clear about what we want, but we need more information – how will it look, when will the preparation start, all that stuff, and nobody has really contacted us so far, it’s just in the media.
“But come on, it’s the Olympic Games, I’m still a sports person, the Olympics is the Olympics, but we have to see.
“We will have to see how we deal with it. We can’t really discuss it really because we don’t know anything about it, or not a lot about it.”
The delayed 2020 Summer Olympics is scheduled to be held from 21 July to 7 August 2021 in Japan and Gharib expects Salah to be involved.
He said: “We got Salah’s approval for playing at the Olympics before sending the request to Liverpool.
“We are still in discussions with the Premier League club regarding the tournament’s timing.
“Sure, having the experienced players will add more strength to the tournament, but the club may reject the request due to their commitments at the same time of the Olympics.
“I will choose three over-age players, as we have big ambitions in this tournament. We will be facing strong opponents, so calling the senior players will add more value to our team.”
Egypt’s Under 23s began their preparations for the games by starting a 2-week training camp earlier this week. They will name their 22-man squad on 22 June. They first have friendlies against South Africa on 10 June and 13 June.
Egypt have been drawn against Argentina, Australia and Spain in Group C.