AFCON 2019: Salah steps up preparations with Egypt

Author: Daily Mail
Mohammed Salah training with his Egyptian teammates ahead of the AFCON

Mohammed Salah has been stepping up his preparations for this summer's African Cup of Nations (AFCON) after cutting short his summer break to link up with the Egyptian national team.

 The Pharoah's are the hosts for the showpiece event and will kick off the tournament when they host Zimbabwe in Cairo on Friday June 21.

Salah had been spending time away from the game after a long season that only concluded on June 1, when his Liverpool side defeated Tottenham 2-0 in the Champions League final.

The 27-year-old, who posted a picture of himself with a giant fish on social media last week, had less than two weeks rest before returning to his homeland to train with his team-mates ahead of AFCON.

The former Roma and Chelsea player returned to the squad to sit on the bench for Egypt's warm-up match against Tanzania last Thursday, before making a cameo appearance against Guinea in a 3-1 win on Sunday.

Salah has scored 39 goals for his country in 63 appearances, and after the disappointment of last summer's World Cup in Russia, which was hindered by a shoulder injury sustained in the 2018 Champions League final, Salah will be hoping for a more competitive showing on the international stage.

Egypt are the most successful side in the tournament's history, winning the AFCON title seven times - including three consecutive triumphs between 2006 and 2010. 

They host several familiar names to Premier League audiences in addition to the Liverpool talisman, including West Brom's Ahmed Hegazi, Aston Villa's Ahmed Elmohamady and Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny.

After facing Zimbabwe, Egypt will need to get the better of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, should they hope to progress to the knockout stages.