Mo in the movies?
By Ramadan A. Kader
Liverpool marksman Mohamed Salah has captured local and foreign headlines in recent weeks. The circumstances of his first World Cup appearance and the Pharaohs’ miserable performances in Russia provided gristle to the news mills.
The Pharaohs’ star striker looked sad during the global tournament despite the fact that he was the one who had netted Egypt’s only two goals in their three matches.
The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) was accused of politically exploiting Salah in much-hyped photo sessions with Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov in Grozny, which was the Pharaohs’ base camp. Kadyrov gave Salah honorary citizenship at a large banquet. The West charges Chechen authorities with human rights abuses, accusations that Grozny denies.
EFA President Hany Abu Reeda last week denied any political manipulation of Salah and said that Grozny was selected by the erstwhile Argentine Hector Cuper despite being far away from venues of the Egyptian squad’s games.
Abu Reeda accused the British media of creating what he termed as the alleged crisis of Salah’s political exploitation.
Salah has kept silent amid the entire row. He is currently on holiday before joining
Liverpool training sessions for the new season.
The 26-year-old professional is poised to make his debut as an actor, according to an Egyptian newspaper.
Salah has received an offer from Egyptian actor Youssef el-Sherif to appear in the second sequel of his film “The International Prof”, Al Watan said.
El-Sherif made the offer during a visit to Salah and was able to convince the football icon of appearing in five scenes, the paper added, citing an unnamed member of the film crew.
“Salah has accepted the offer and left the details for his agent Rami Abbas to sort out with the producing company,” the source said.
“Salah and Youssef met more than once in London and are set to meet again during Salah’s current holiday in Cairo,” the source added.
In 2009, el-Sherif starred in the first part of “Al Alami” (The International Prof), which is set in the realm of world football. In the film, he portrayed an Egyptian professional, who leads Egypt to the World Cup.
The storyline incredibly echoes Salah’s successful effort in last October when he sent Egypt to the competition with a double against Congo in their thrilling World Cup qualifier. That match ended in a 2-1 victory for Egypt.
Salah, a native of a small village in Egypt’s Nile Delta, is riding a wave of popularity in the homeland not only because of his on-pitch brilliance but due to his characteristic humility as well.
He is one of very few players in the national team who have been spared Egyptians’ fury over the Pharaohs’ abysmal showing at the World Cup and their humiliating exit.
Last week, hundreds of fans flocked to a villa where Salah was staying on the outskirts of Cairo after the address of his private residence was leaked online.
The devoted congregation showered him with praise. He acknowledged the gesture with his trademark modesty and ready smile.