Sunday Apr 25, 2021. 11:00
Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah’s involvement in the Tokyo Olympic Games would be a motivating factor for Australia according to John Iredale.
This comes after Australia were drawn in Group C against Egypt, Spain and Argentina in the football tournament which will be played between July 22 and August 7 this year.
The competition is for Under-23 players, but the nations are allowed to pick three footballers over the age of 23 and Liverpool FC winger Salah has been included in Egypt’s preliminary squad for the tournament.
Australia under-23 international Iredale, who is on the books of German club VFL Wolfsburg, stressed the importance of having 28-year-old Salah at the Olympic Games.
“Playing against countries like this, you expect everyone to really lift their game to make our country proud,” Iredale told World Game.
“We aren’t going to Japan to make up numbers. ‘Arnie’ has always said we are going there to win a medal and I believe whoever is selected in the final squad will not go down without a fight.”
Considered one of the best players in the world, Salah’s exploits for English giants Liverpool have earned him a number of individual accolades, including the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and 2018 Best FIFA Men’s Player award.
“If it’s true and Salah does play in the Olympics, then it only adds another layer of motivation for us to prove to the world how much spirit and determination Australians have,” he added.
“I think we can for sure [get out of the group]. In a tournament like this, it can very much come down to who wants it more in each game.”
Salah was selected for the Egypt squad to play at the 2012 London Olympic Games scoring in all three of the team’s group games.
He helped Egypt secure advancement into the knockout stage of the tournament, where Egypt were eliminated following a 3-0 quarter-final defeat to Japan.