Mo Salah is A Real Hero On and Off the Pitch

Egypt’s National Pride and Liverpool Football Star’s Life Story has been added to School Textbooks in Egypt
Liverpool s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring their fifth goal, his third during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester (AFP)

“Mo Salah, Mo Salah, running down the wing … Salalalaah, the Egyptian king!”

This is how fans of Liverpool FC cheered Mohamed Salah, the top-scoring African player in Premier League history after his hat-trick at Old Trafford on Sunday, winning a 5-0 victory against a humiliated Manchester United.

Mohamed Salah has now overtaken retired Chelsea forward Didier Drogba with a tally of 107 goals, and also became the first away player to score a hat-trick at Old Trafford since Brazil legend Ronaldo in 2003.

The achievements didn’t stop there as Salah is currently leading this season’s Premier League top scoring charts with 10 goals and five assists in just nine games, three goals clear of second-placed Jaime Vardy.

“Yeah he is, for sure, one of the best in the world now. It’s obviously not for me or whatever to say who the best is. For me, he’s the best. I see him every day and that makes it easier for me,” his Liverpool football manager Jürgen Klopp said during the press conference.

 “Mo Salah put Egypt back on the map,” said one young man on a recent Egyptian TV programme. The display of his own waxwork at Madame Tussauds London, which he described as a ‘blessing,’ and his nickname as the “Egyptian King” are evidence that Salah has become an icon for all Egyptians.

Salah’s relationship with Egyptian youth is a unique one as he represents their hopes and aspirations and is a model they seek to emulate. As one supporter commented on Facebook, “Search for Salah inside you; you will find him in all domains.”

In a TV interview, Salah’s message to Egyptian youth was simple, “You can. Believe in your dream and follow it, no matter what.”

For young people in Egypt, though, Salah is more than just a footballer, he is an icon and a role model – he embodies the ideal of a young person who has achieved his dreams.

Khaled Desouki, AFP | An Egyptian woman walks past a mural of Egyptian footballer Mohamed Salah in Cairo on June 17, 2019, four days ahead of the African Cup of Nations debut.

Therefore, in honor of him and his accomplishments, the career of the man who is now the leading African scorer in the Premier League will be taught in English language textbooks to primary and secondary school students across Egypt, and he will sit alongside other Egyptian heroes featured in these textbooks, such as Nobel Prize-winning novelist Naguib Mahfouz and UK-based cardiologist Sir Magdi Yacoub.

Primary school children will mainly be taught his footballing success, while secondary school textbooks will focus on his philanthropic activities.  Teachers will pose questions prompting students to ponder on what it means to be a hero.

On the humanitarian side, Salah is active in regeneration projects in Nagrig, his hometown where 65% of the people live in poverty, donating money to help build a school and hospital. The project includes the construction of an Al-Azhar institute and an ambulance unit. In an interview with one of the Egyptian newspapers, Salah's father claimed that his son refused to accept any financial assistance with the project.

Since his transfer from Roma in 2017 to Liverpool, Salah has scored 134 goals and added 46 assists in 212 games. He has won two Golden Boots, a PFA Player of the Year award, the Champions League, Premier League, European Super Cup and Club World Cup. His four completed seasons at Anfield have seen him finish with 44 goals, 27, 23 and 31. He has missed only seven league games in that time.

With Egypt not having played a tournament during 2021, his hopes of becoming the first African to win the Ballon d’Or since George Weah in 1995 may have to wait until next year. Should he replicate his performances for Liverpool with the Pharaohs at the Africa Cup of Nations in January, it would be hard to ignore his case.

Mohamed Salah today is the “property” of those who have hope, they have more right to it than himself. He is no longer only there in Liverpool to fulfill his dream but is responsible to the hundreds of thousands who look at him every day and smile.


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