Egypt manager Hector Cuper remains ‘optimistic’ that star man Mohamed Salah will be fit and firing in time for the World Cup in Russia.
The Liverpool ace’s tournament looked in real doubt after a shoulder injury forced him off after 30 minutes in the Champions League final recently.
But Cuper, speaking after Egypt’s 0-0 friendly draw with Colombia on Friday, insists medical reports look positive and Salah is edging closer to a return.
‘We are optimistic, and every medical report says he will make it,’ he said.
‘But we still have to prepare for any situation that could happen before we start.
‘Salah is not easy to replace, no doubt about that. He is a weapon for us, especially on the counter-attack, making use of his speed and his quality.’
In his absence, Cuper’s side struggled to break down a resilient Colombia side led by James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao.
Salah provides Egypt with a superstar that can help them beat anybody on the world stage and Cuper accepted his side are not the same without him.
The boss also revealed that players fasting was also a factor in the latter stages when stamina levels were exposed.
‘Today we struggled in our attacking performance,’ he added to reporters.
‘We tried to compensate that with some team playing, but as I said in the second half we lacked stamina because we have a special condition.
‘For religious reasons, players don’t drink nor eat anything, and we actually felt that.’
Egypt open their World Cup campaign on June 15 against Uruguay in the Ekaterinburg Arena.