Liverpool shining star who doubles as Egypt national team captain, Mohamed Salah, has swallowed his humble pie by admitting that the lone goal defeat suffered in the hands of Nigeria served as a wake-up call for the seven-time African champions.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria humbled the Pharaohs in their group opener last Tuesday before going on to whip Sudan 3-1 four days after.
As for Egypt, they also got their campaign back on track on Saturday with a slim 1-0 win over Guinea Bissau; a result Salah credits to the wake-up call served by Nigeria.
The Liverpool star, who scored Egypt’s only goal, was voted Man-of-the-Match in Saturday’s tie after being largely anonymous against the Eagles.
“We have a new coach and a new generation. After the defeat against Nigeria we had to rearrange ourselves.
“We will fight in this tough competition and believe in our chances and where we can go,” Salah said.
Expectedly also, the Egypt coach, Carlos Queiroz, was also relieved to get the win over Guinea Bissau after the opening day loss to Nigeria.
He said: “This win is for Egyptian fans who believed in their team.
“After four days of pressure, the players have shown their strong character and rebounded in a good way.
“We deserved to win by a bigger margin, but luck was not on our side. We will be better game by game.”
Before Saturday’s game, Quieroz had apologised for his outburst against Nigeria.
At his pre-match conference before the Guinea Bissau tie, the former Real Madrid manager admitted that he lost his cool when centre referee Bakary Gassama refused to award Egypt a penalty after Moses Simon appeared to have fouled Zizo in the box.
But the Portuguese coach has exonerated Nigeria of any blame for the referee’s decision.
“I apologize to Nigeria and Nigerians, the fact is the referee is not doing his job, VAR included. It’s totally unfair,” Queiroz said.
“The reality is that the Egyptian has to put pressure. We lost because the referee didn’t do his job. The bad decision of the referee cost us the game. It is likely that this will not be the case in our next game,” he said.
Group D games at the African Cup of Nations will be concluded on Wednesday when Egypt take on Sudan and Nigeria confront Guinea Bissau simultaneously