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AFCON 2023: Can the Pharaohs replace injured Mohamed Salah?

"It is not mandatory to play with Mohamed Salah. Any player can be replaced, and the others will improve in their performance, but it doesn't mean that player has adversely affected the performance of those players," said Mohamed Salah on Sunday ahead of the game against Cape Verde, which he himself will miss through injury.

Egypt AFCON – Mohamed Salah

But can the Pharaohs really do without the Liverpool star so easily? Mohamed Salah is undoubtedly the best player in the history of Egyptian football.

In 96 games for his country, Salah scored 54 goals and also contributed 32 assists. Meanwhile, Mahmoud Trezeguet, the second-best player in terms of goals in the squad, has only scored 15 goals.

The third-best player - and currently designated starting striker - Mustafa Mohamed has scored 10 goals. With the loss of Salah, there is no longer a reliable scorer in the squad - so hopes are now pinned on other players.

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Take Omar Marmoush, for example, who has had a very strong season so far. After moving from VFL Wolfsburg to Eintracht Frankfurt last July, he has already scored 12 goals in 25 games for the "Mainhattan" Club.

Although he has only scored 5 goals in 27 games for the national team, he showed just how important he can be in the game against the Black Stars. With his lively, quick playing style, Marmoush has been a great addition to the team and also scored a goal.

Many hopes now also rest on the aforementioned Mustafa Mohamed, who scored the 2:2 equaliser against the Black Stars. Attacking midfielder Emam Ashour, who did not have a bad game against Ghana, will also have to take responsibility.

The injured Salah will probably be replaced by Mustafa Fathi on Monday evening. However, it is more than questionable whether the player from the Egyptian first division club Pyramide FC can really fill his big shoes.

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He has only scored 2 goals in 24 international matches. In the game against Ghana, in which he directly replaced Salah, he did not complete a single dribble, completed only 5 of his new passes, and three crosses ended up out of bounds or in the opponent's feet.

There may be three exciting players in Mohamed, Ashour, and Marmoush. Whether they will really perform as well as Salah has so often shown is more than questionable. However, Black Stars fans should not celebrate too soon: on Thursday, the Black Stars showed that they can twice overturn a lead even without Salah.

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