After African POTY award, what next for Mohamed Salah?
Mo won the African Player of the Year Award this week and there’s definitely more to expect from him. So, what next for Mohamed Salah?
“Never stop dreaming and never stop believing.” I believe this was the best thing Salah said in his 2017 African Player of the Year Award acceptance speech. It’s a nice quote coming right around when all of us still remain faithful to our New Year’s resolutions.
Mohamed Salah’s standout year started with a runners-up finish at the Africa Cup of Nation, notching two goals en route. A result to be applauded since it was a fourth straight appearance in the final for Egypt. The forward then completed his Roma career as the club’s second to the top scorer before moving back to the Premier League.
Something that is not stressed enough is that his journey started at Arab Contractors in 2010. It’s entirely possible that, today, he would be securing a loan move to the gulf as, his team, Al Ahly replace him with their latest picking of an Egyptian player with any semblance to promise.
Instead, the then young forward secured a quick move to FC Basel, in 2012, where he did well enough, fast enough to grab the attention of Chelsea. He didn’t blow up at Stamford Bridge. But he also didn’t blow up like Zaki.
He put his head down, went to Italy and made improvements where Jose Mourinho thought he had to. Two years later, in 2017, he returned to the Premier League as the most expensive African footballer of all time; specifically, to Liverpool.
He couldn’t have had a better start to his career at Anfield, except remaining in contention for the league cup. Salah has been immune to Liverpool’s topsy-turvy first-half of the season to maintain incredible form.
What next for Mohamed Salah?
For many African footballers, the African Player of the Year Award is an end in itself. How many African players can you name who made another stride? One time, Egyptians would have been satisfied with a handful of their mates doing well in the big leagues. But Mohamed Salah has redefined that. More is expected from him.
The next thing for him is obviously ending Manchester City’s undefeated run. After that, he will do great to be part of the squad that ends Liverpool’s hiatus from the Champions League, proper. Salah has played in a European semifinal before but this would be different.
Last time Liverpool made the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League, Salah’s professional career had not started. Dire. But with a favorable round of 16 draw in FC Porto and his form of five Champions League goals, everything remains possible for the Reds and for him.
How well do you think Salah will do at the World Cup? Most of the players who were listed alongside him in this top 100 promising young footballers list in 2013, like Neymar and Hazard, will have the tournament be definitive of their year. It should not been any different for Mo Salah.
The Egyptian forward’s stay at Liverpool is expected to last five years. At the end of that he will be in his 30s and that will have been a good career. Even without accolades. Surely, you also think that his next stride must (or, hopefully, will) be crystallized by a move to a bigger club.
He has worked well enough to get click-bait links to a club like Real Madrid. Whether he has chance to move there is another matter. For now, our eagerness is for how he will top-up a great 2017.
What do you believe? What next for Mohamed Salah?
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