The Pharaohs talisman revealed the federation’s poor organisation and lack of security contributed to the nation’s early exit
Mohamed Salah believes Egypt would have performed better at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) if the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) hadn’t been lax about the players’ welfare.
The pre-tournament favourites were eliminated by South Africa in the Round of 16 following a 1-0 defeat at Cairo International Stadium, which disappointed millions of Egyptians who expected an eighth Afcon title.
Salah, who scored twice at the finals, spoke of the EFA’s appalling treatment of the players during the showpiece.
“When we had one day off, I couldn’t go down from the room until 9:30 pm,” Salah told CNN. “When I tried to go down it was like 200 people with me. And they [EFA] say, ‘Why are you complaining?’
“I complain because I’m a human being. I want to be with the players. I want to sit down and enjoy my life. We are a team; we love each other, as players we want to play something.
“So, when I’m trying to say something, I’m saying for me and behalf of the players, because the players some times talk to me, ‘Please if you can do that.’ “But for them, it’s a competition.”
The Pharaohs forward then continued to air his grievances at what he perceives to be a “competition” between himself and the EFA.
“I think with the federation, it was a bit like a competition,” Salah told CNN.
“Who’s the winner? And for me, I will never be a winner because I’m a player.
So, when I come to tell you something, you have to know that I’m telling you just because I want to be happy … to get something for the national team, to do something more for the national team.
“It’s not just that I’m telling you because I’m showing you that I’m powerful, I’m not powerful there. And believe me, if I’m powerful there, I could have changed a lot of things.”
When the idea of retiring from international football, given his issues with the federation, was put to him, Salah affirmed his continued commitment.
“I love this country from my heart,” Salah said of Egypt.
“It’s always in my mind. Something pushed me forward to perform, to be iconic for the kids, to be like a dream for the kids to one day be like me.
“I want to be that person, so to just retire from the national team is huge for me.”
However, the Champions League winner will like to see changes with how the nation’s football governing body is run in future.
Then FA president Hany Abou Rida sacked the entire national team technical staff and coach Javier Aguirre, accepted resignations from some board members of the federation, before leaving his position as well.
“The one who is coming [new EFA president] now needs to be honest with himself and try to fix the thing because as a player in the national team, they’re not happy about a lot of things,” he added.
“Hopefully the new one comes and does things differently.”
While the Liverpool star remains critical of the federation, he accepts that the players struggled to play in front of the massive crowds at home and crumbled under the weight of expectation.
“It’s too much pressure, 80,000 in the stadium, I think, or 70,000, for each game,” Salah said.
“The players feel the pressure and we didn’t perform at the top level, honestly. So I’m not talking about the players and hiding myself, but as a team we didn’t perform well.”
Salah has featured for the Anfield giants’ two Premier League fixtures this season, scoring once against Norwich.
The attacker also starred in their Super Cup win over Chelsea on August 14. He is expected to feature when Jurgen Klopp’s side play hosts to Arsenal in game week three on August 24.