Never a dull moment when it comes to the Egyptian Football Association.
Social media across the country erupted yesterday, after Mohamed Salah removed ‘Egypt’ from his Twitter bio almost immediately after the ceremony for the 2019 Best FIFA awards took place, in which the Liverpool star came fourth in the Best Men’s Player vote. But the real key to this tale is that FIFA – the world governing body for football – made the details of the voting choices public, with the votes of Egypt’s national team manager and captain absent from the results.
Naturally, many have connected the dots and suggested that Salah changed his bio as a response to this snubbing. This storm in a teacup has divided Egyptian football fans; some have condemned Salah’s move as petty and over-the-top, while others have come to Nagrig native’s defence and accused the EFA of mistreating the country’s biggest star.
The EFA have responded by claiming that the votes were sent to FIFA and have asked for an explanation as to why they were not included. “The two votes went for Salah in the top spot," an EFA statement read.
Salah put his spin doctor hat on, however, and promptly posted an image of himself draped in the Egyptian flag on Instagram, as well as a piece of fan art that is equally as, let’s call it, ‘patriotic’ on Twitter.
This is, of course, not the first time that Salah and the EFA have clashed. In the run-up to the 2018 World Cup, the EFA used an image of Salah on the plane that was to carry the team to host nation, Russia, alongside a logo of an EFA sponsor – one that is a competitor of one of Salah’s sponsors, which put him in breach of his contract. Things didn’t get that much better during the tournament itself, when the EFA were accused of using him as a political pawn of sorts by setting up a meeting and photo-op with controversial Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, who even went as far as to invite mop-top Mo to a special dinner during which he granted honorary Chechen citizenship.
Who knows when this strangest of sagas will end, but rest assured that this is not the end. Stay tuned for chapter three.