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2WCADMB January 14 2024: Mohamed Salah Salah Mahrous Ghaly (Egypt) looks on during a African Cup of Nations Group B game, Egypt vs Mozambique, at Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Kim Price/CSM (Credit Image: © Kim Price/Cal Sport Media) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

Mo Salah told to “be honest” with Egypt manager after playing in new position

Mohamed Salah is no longer used on the right for Egypt, instead being deployed in a new role, with Jay-Jay Okocha urging him to “be honest” with his manager.

Following Egypt’s 2-2 draw with Mozambique to open their Africa Cup of Nations group games, there has been an understandable focus on Salah.

The 31-year-old came away with a goal and an assist, though there is debate over the quality of his equalising penalty and setting up Mostafa Mohamed’s opener was hardly intentional.

READ: Late drama! Salah saves Egypt with penalty – after clumsiest assist of his career

It was a difficult game for Egypt on the whole, and came with their captain being trialled in a new position, almost as a No. 10.

That has led African football legend Okocha, who was top scorer and Player of the Tournament at the AFCON in 2004, to call for Salah to “be honest” with manager Rui Vitoria over his best role.

“Salah is a player who must be monitored. Any team facing Egypt must watch him,” he is quoted by KingFut.

“It is up to the coach to find the best position for him to get the best performance and result.

“Salah is one of the greatest African players, and he should be honest with the manager and tell him which position suits him.”

2WCAEKC January 14 2024: Mohamed Salah Salah Mahrous Ghaly (Egypt) celebrates the second goal during a African Cup of Nations Group B game, Egypt vs Mozambique, at Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Kim Price/CSM (Credit Image: © Kim Price/Cal Sport Media) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

While it is interesting to see Salah used behind the striker, and he even popped up deeper in the 2-0 friendly win over Tanzania before the tournament, he is clearly most comfortable on the right wing.

He is still able to drift to that area in this new role – and it can be argued that it is natural for him to do so – but the suggestion is that Vitoria is not maximising his ability.

“Salah wants to achieve success with his national team and that puts him and the whole team under pressure,” Okocha continued.

“You have to learn from the lesson [of drawing with Mozambique], and it requires a strong team to return in terms of results and performance.”

Khaled El-Darandaly, vice-president of the Egyptian FA, has already revealed that a meeting has been scheduled for Vitoria to pore over the draw with his players.

Perhaps that would be the time for Salah to speak up and offer his own tactical advice.