Premier League clubs have denied permission for African players to head to countries on the British government’s Covid red list, which would require 10 days of quarantine upon their return as Africa’s second round of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup set to kick off.
Mohamed Salah, among others are most likely to miss matches for their counties after the refusal of British clubs to release players for various matches since some countries they are to face are on covid red list.
With Egypt one of 17 African countries on the red list, Liverpool superstar Salah will miss this week’s home match against Angola in Cairo but could play in Gabon, which is not on the list, next week.
Quarantine conditions meant he could have been one of several internationals to miss multiple games, said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
“As clubs we cannot do that – not only because we play games in that time, but because without being positive (for coronavirus) they lose 10 days of training,” he said.
“Without any chance of moving, you lose muscle. It’s a real risk for the boys if they have to then play three, four or five days after 10 days in quarantine.”
Since they are playing in countries not on the red list, Salah’s club colleagues Sadio Mane and Naby Keita can represent Senegal and Guinea respectively in both this window’s matches, which begin on Wednesday and end on Tuesday.
The Liverpool cases highlight the additional selection problems facing coaches as the 40 teams, split into ten groups of four, and battle to reach March’s play-offs.
Only the ten group winners will make the two-legged play-offs as Africa’s five finalists for Qatar 2022.
In Group D, Cameroon’s 2017 African champions will take on Ivory Coast’s 2015 winners in a battle of sides who have ten World Cup appearances.
Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredrejovic will be taking on with Kenya in Group E as he faces his first competitive match since rejoining the Cranes, who he led to first Africa Cup of Nations finals in four decades in 2017.
“We are expecting good match of football friends that will be opponents for 90 minutes but after 90 minutes, we shall be east African brothers,” he said.