Mohamed Salah has been slammed in an extraordinary tirade by former Egypt forward Mido, who criticised the Liverpool star for contracting COVID-19 and called the national team's administration "cowards" for aiding the player's apparent negligence.

It was confirmed last Friday that Salah had been diagnosed with the virus after returning two positive test results.

It subsequently emerged that Salah had attended the wedding of his brother in Cairo earlier in the week, an event that was said to have had hundreds of guests.

While some footage from the wedding showed Salah dancing in a crowd with a facemask on, in others the covering is shown to be only around his neck – like much of the world, Egypt has imposed COVID-19 protocols to curb the spread of the virus, including social distancing measures and the wearing of masks in enclosed public spaces.

It has not been confirmed that Salah contracted the virus at the wedding, but he has attracted widespread condemnation for attending it during a pandemic and so close to Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Togo.

Now Mido, a controversial figure himself during his playing days, has blasted Salah and the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) – including his former team-mate Mohamed Barakat, now national team director – for allowing the situation to arise in the first place.

"I know I may be under attack after my next talk, but it has to be. Mohamed Salah made a big mistake by attending his brother's wedding a few days before the Egyptian national team match," the former Tottenham, Ajax and Roma striker told Al-Nahar TV. "He showed great negligence with the steps taken to prevent coronavirus, and the result was that he was infected.

"The neglect of Mohamed Salah caused the Egyptian team to lose an important player in a very important match and time, and he also risked the health of his team-mates. He should not have been present at his brother's wedding, especially at that time.

"The other point here is the silence of all those responsible for the player's negligence, which confirms the fact that the player is still bigger than the national team and this will lead to a great failure.

"When I missed the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, I was punished by missing the final and being excluded from the national team for six months, even if I played [at club level].

"The final we lost, I was young and I thought I was bigger than the team, but I confirm now that no one is bigger than the team, and if someone thinks this, this will be a great failure.

"Officials in Egypt did not direct any word of blame or reproach to Mohamed Salah and the harm caused by his negligence to the Egyptian team, and I name each of the minister of sports Ashraf Sobhi, chairman of the EFA Amr Al-Ganayni, the coach of the national team Hossam Al-Badri, and the national team director Mohamed Barakat, all are cowards and fear Mohamed Salah fans who love the Liverpool star.

"But here I am speaking without calculations or fear of anyone. No one can say that Salah did not make a mistake by going to his brother's wedding at that difficult time and in light of the coronavirus crisis.

"All the English newspapers speak against us negatively, Salah should have been blamed for what he did, but everyone feels fear."

Salah also looks set to miss Liverpool's Premier League clash with Leicester City.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has questioned the organisation of the Confederation of Africa (CAF) after Gabon were made to feel like "hostages" during a six-hour wait at a Gambian airport on the morning of an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier.

Arsenal striker Aubameyang detailed the frustrating wait on his Instagram story in the early hours of Monday, posting videos and photographs initially of his team-mates lounging around having had their passports taken from them by security.

But as the hours passed, the photos started to show the majority of the squad attempting to sleep on the floor of the airport, using their luggage as pillows.

Having arrived at 23:30 local time, Aubameyang began to show his frustration after waiting for three hours, posting a video at 02:31 that was accompanied by a caption that read: "Still waiting to enter Gambia, and we play at 4pm. Nice."

A follow-up soon after showed the team listening to music and joking, with Aubameyang adding that "they will not discourage us".

Just before 06:00, Gabon were allowed into the country, just 10 hours before their scheduled kick-off.

"Finally in the bus. Thanks for the extra motivation, Gambia," Aubameyang wrote.

But while there was a light-hearted aura to Aubameyang's posts, he hit an altogether more serious note in a reply to a message on Twitter.

African football has long been criticised for a perceived lack of organisation and Aubameyang pointed the finger at CAF.

"It will not demotivate us," he said. "But people need to know and especially that CAF takes these responsibilities.

"[It's] 2020 and we want [African football] to grow, that's not how we're going to get there!!!"

After three rounds of games in AFCON qualifying Group D, Gabon are top with seven points, three clear of Gambia – who they defeated 2-1 last week – in second.

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey will have a scan on a suspected thigh injury which has left him doubtful for international duty with Ghana.

Partey was withdrawn at half-time of Arsenal's shock 3-0 Premier League defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday.

The 27-year-old made 36 passes in the first half with an accuracy of 80.6 per cent and had a shot on target – one of only two Arsenal had in the entire match.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta confirmed the decision to take off Partey, who joined the Gunners from Atletico Madrid in the last transfer window, was due to injury rather than tactical reasons.

Partey was seen holding his left thigh shortly before the break and was replaced by Dani Ceballos.

Arsenal's Partey was due to join up with Ghana this week for their home-and-away qualifiers against Sudan in the Africa Cup of Nations on November 12 and 17.

"We don't know [the extent] of it," Arteta told a media conference after the match.

"We have to scan him on Monday or the day after and see what he felt straight away. Let's wait and see what the magnitude of the injury is.

"I don't know [if he will go away with Ghana now]. As I said, the doctor will have to have a look at him and probably scan him. Then we will decide what to do with him."

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations has been delayed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced.

Following a meeting of the CAF executive committee on Tuesday, it was confirmed that the tournament in Cameroon will now be held in January 2022.

Dates for the rescheduled event and the remaining qualifying fixtures will be decided at a later point.

However, the 2020 Women's AFCON, which was slated to take place from November 23 until December 20, has been cancelled.

With the men's AFCON pushed back, the African Nations Championship will now be held in January 2021 after conditions were deemed unsuitable due to the COVID-19 outbreak in April.

"The CAF executive committee is satisfied with the Cameroonian authorities for their commitment towards the hosting of the two competitions," said CAF president Ahmad Ahmad.

"Cameroon is ready to host either competition and are within schedule."

The CAF Champions League, which was paused at the semi-final stage, will resume in September with single-legged fixtures at a yet-to-be-determined venue. The women's version of the competition will be launched in 2021.

It was also announced the CAF Awards will not be held this year.

Real Madrid made an offer to Liverpool star Mohamed Salah in the months leading up to their 2018 Champions League final clash, according to a former member of coaching staff for the Egypt national team.

Salah enjoyed a stellar 2017-18 campaign, scoring 32 Premier League goals and supplying 10 assists.

However, his bid for European glory with the Reds ended in heartbreak, after a tussle with Sergio Ramos saw him depart the final in Kiev with an injured shoulder.

Jurgen Klopp's men went on to lose 3-1 and Salah embarked on a race against time to be fit for Egypt's World Cup campaign in Russia.

The ex-Roma forward scored twice but the Pharaohs lost every game as they bowed out limply at the group stage.

According to former Egypt international Hany Ramzy, Salah discussed an approach from Madrid with then national team boss Hector Cuper during a March 2018 training camp in Switzerland.

Ramzy told Egyptian television channel OnTimes Sports that he was present and also party to the conversation, even though he only joined the coaching staff under Cuper's successor Javier Aguirre.

"I was talking to Salah and he told me that Real Madrid sent him an offer," he said.

"The offer was really good, but Salah discussed it with me and Mr. Cuper, and he decided to stay with Liverpool because he was comfortable there."

Ramzy left the Egypt setup along with all of Aguirre's staff when they were dismissed in the aftermath of a last-16 exit from the African Cup of Nations on home soil last year.

Nevertheless, Salah retains huge ambitions in the continental tournament.

"Salah is ambitious. He told us that he wanted to win AFCON three times in a row, as Egypt did in 2006, 2008, 2010," Ramzy added.

Jurgen Klopp said it was "a catastrophe" for Liverpool to learn next year's Africa Cup of Nations has been moved to start in January.

The tournament in Cameroon had been due to be played in June and July, during the off-season for many European leagues, and Liverpool had been planning accordingly.

However, concerns over weather conditions at that time of year meant it was decided to move it on the calendar, which also means there will be no clash with an expanded Club World Cup in China.

While the Africa Cup of Nations will go ahead in cooler temperatures, there was no disguising Klopp's heated response to the decision.

"[It's] for us a catastrophe in that moment losing three players," Klopp said.

"We have absolutely no power. If we say we don't let him go, the player is suspended. How is that possible that the company who pays the player cannot decide if the player has to stay or not?"

He could lose the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita for weeks on end, putting a major dent in plans for what could be a season where Liverpool, this term's runaway leaders, are defending the Premier League title.

Klopp admitted his transfer plans could also be affected by the Confederation of African Football's (CAF) decision, saying it was a move that did African players no favours.

The tournament will run from January 9 to February 6, CAF said.

"Do we really want to open this book now?" Klopp asked, when the subject was raised in a news conference on Friday.

"I couldn't respect the African Cup of Nations more than I do. I like the competition and I've watched it a lot in the past. It's an obvious problem that you play a tournament in the middle of the season.

"I get it that it makes more sense for Africa to play it maybe in our winter, their winter as well, so when the weather is better for them.

"A couple of things which are not OK – one thing is, FIFA plans a tournament [the Club World Cup] in the summer of 2021, a week later or so than the actual Africa Cup of Nations will have started [under the previous plans], I think, or maybe two weeks later, another tournament for a lot of world-class players.

"I mentioned that in the past. I'm not sure if that was part of the decision, when they thought it makes no sense to play it after that tournament so let's play it again in the winter, I don't know.

"Or was the weather the real [reason]? It means another tournament. It's too many tournaments, still.

"The other thing is, it doesn't help African players. We will not sell Sadio, Mo or Naby now because they have a tournament in January or February, but if we have to make a decision about bringing in a player, it's a massive one.

"These decisions are made without asking players, without asking managers, without asking anybody, it's just a decision. FIFA doesn't look like being involved. They're happy having their 24-team [Club] World Cup, offering a lot of money for all the clubs involved. We forget these tournaments are played by players - they don't have a break."

CAF has decided to move the Africa Cup of Nations back to January for the 2021 edition of the tournament, which is to be held in Cameroon.

The 2019 tournament – hosted by Egypt and won by Algeria – was held in July, as CAF elected to move the tournament to fit in line with the northern hemisphere summer, meaning clubs in Europe's major leagues were unaffected.

However, sweltering conditions in Egypt led to the decision to switch to tournament to June and July being questioned.

Now, it has been confirmed by hosts Cameroon that the 2021 AFCON shall take place in January and February due to concerns over the weather should the tournament have taken place later in the year.

"The AFCON 2021 will be played in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6, 2021," a post on Cameroon's football federation's official Twitter account read.

"Dates [have been] changed for meteorological reasons at the request of Cameroon."

Cameroon was initially scheduled to host last year's tournament, but was stripped of it in November 2018 due to inadequate infrastructure.

CAF has decided to move the Africa Cup of Nations back to January for the 2021 edition of the tournament, which is to be held in Cameroon.

The 2019 tournament – hosted by Egypt and won by Algeria – was held in July, as CAF elected to move the tournament to fit in line with the northern hemisphere summer, meaning clubs in Europe's major leagues were unaffected.

However, sweltering conditions in Egypt led to the decision to switch to tournament to June and July being questioned.

Now, it has been confirmed by hosts Cameroon that the 2021 AFCON shall take place in January and February due to concerns over the weather should the tournament have taken place later in the year.

"The AFCON 2021 will be played in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6, 2021," a post on Cameroon's football federation's official Twitter account read.

"Dates [have been] changed for meteorological reasons at the request of Cameroon."

Cameroon was initially scheduled to host last year's tournament, but was stripped of it in November 2018 due to inadequate infrastructure.

Mohamed Salah faces competition from Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane and Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez in his bid to be named African Player of the Year for the third time in a row.

The Premier League stars have been named as the final three contenders for the award, which has belonged to Egypt international Salah for the past two years.

Algeria winger Mahrez won it while still at Leicester City in 2016 but Mane looks to be Salah's closest competitor after twice finishing as runner-up to his fellow Anfield favourite.

Mane has scored freely throughout 2019 and helped Senegal reached the Africa Cup of Nations final, which they lost to Algeria.

Cameroon's Ajara Nchout, Nigeria and Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala, and last year's winner Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa are shortlisted for the African Women's Player of the Year award.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Hurghada, Egypt on January 7.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has been ruled out of Egypt's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Kenya and Comoros due to a persistent ankle injury.

Salah has been managing an issue since hobbling out of Liverpool's win over Leicester City last month, having been on the end of a rugged late challenge from Hamza Choudhury.

The 27-year-old looked to be in pain again in Sunday's mammoth clash with Manchester City.

He was caught by Fernandinho during Liverpool's 3-1 victory, initially staying down before playing on until the 87th minute, and was seen with his foot strapped up at full-time.

Salah joined up with his international team-mates on Monday, but the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has announced Salah will play no part against Kenya or Comoros.

"Medical tests have confirmed Salah is not ready for Kenya and Comoros," a statement on the EFA's official Twitter page read.

Salah has nine goals in all competitions for Liverpool this season, including five in his past seven outings.

Egypt face Kenya in Alexandria in their first qualifier of the group stage on Thursday before travelling to Moroni four days later.

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