Cairo — Egypt coach Javier Aguirre is happy with the way his star player Mohammed Salah is handling himself despite the enormous expectation of the host nation that has been placed on his shoulders.
The Africa Cup of Nations hosts and title favourites head into their second Group A game against the Democratic Republic of Congo Wednesday night from 11pm (Kenyan time). Uganda Cranes also play Zimbabwe from 8pm in the other match of the group.
Almost every Egyptian on the streets to the last man knows the Liverpool hitman, and expects him to deliver the trophy to the country.
"Salah is a great player and he is adapting well with the Egyptian team. He is an important player for the team. But we also have other players. We do not depend on one player," said the Mexican coach.
In the opening match of the tournament between Egypt and Zimbabwe last Friday, the capacity crowd at the Cairo International Stadium instantly grew pregnant with expectation whenever Salah touched the ball.
They expected a goal from the 2018/2019 English Premier League joint top scorer, but it never came despite several attempts on target.
YET TO SCORE
When a journalist asked Aguirre whether he felt the Egyptian public were putting too much pressure on the striker he responded: "I do not think so. Salah is playing for Egypt. He is a big player and can handle himself well. He has so much experience."
The deadly striker is yet to hit the mark in his home country this Afcon and will get a second chance when Egypt play Zimbabwe today in a Group "A" tie from 11pm Kenyan time at the Cairo International Stadium.
Uganda, who beat much-fancied DR Congo 2-0 in their opening match on Saturday, will play the first match of the group today from 8pm against Zimbabwe.
Aguirre said he expected the hosts to player better football than what they exhibited on the opening day.
"We will no longer have the pressure of the first game which we won. We have analysed Congo and we will be ready for them," said the Mexican tactician.
Egypt are gunning for a record extending eighth African title and fourth won on home soil. The entire country of about 100 million people demand it, but will they deliver?