Egyptian FA say players were “exposed to racism” during World Cup play-off defeat to Senegal
The Egyptian FA have submitted a complaint to Fifa saying their players were subject to racist abuse in their World Cup qualifier against Senegal.
In a repeat of February’s Africa Cup of Nations final, Egypt and Senegal faced off in a two-legged tie with a place in the World Cup on the line. Egypt won the first game 1-0 but Senegal repeated the scoreline, taking the tie all the way to penalties.
Senegal eventually won, with Sadio Mane scoring the winning penalty and sending the Lions of Teranga to the World Cup for just the third time.
During the game, Senegal fans targeted Egypt players with laser pens. Goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy was the main target throughout the game, but they were also shone in Mohamed Salah’s eyes as he prepared to take Egypt’s first penalty in the shootout, which he missed.
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The Egyptian FA have since released a statement claiming Salah and his teammates were also subjected to racist abuse from fans in the stadium.
“The Egypt national team have been exposed to racism with offensive signs in the stands against the Egyptian players in general, and Mohamed Salah in particular,” they wrote in a post on social media channels, accompanied by pictures showing damage to their team bus.
“The crowd also intimidated the players by throwing bottles and rocks on them during the warm-up.
“The Egyptian group’s busses have also been exposed to assaults that led to broken windows and injuries; filed with pictures and videos as proof in the complaint submitted.”
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President of the Senegalese Football Federation and Caf’s vice-president Augustin Senghor responded: “From the stands, I didn’t pay attention to the projectiles thrown.
“About the lasers, if it happened this is a first in Senegal. But we know that in Cairo there were a lot of these and [they are used] often in specific countries. Senegal isn’t used to that.”
He added: “In my opinion, I didn’t see during this game something that could be considered as chauvinism because the Senegalese are known to be very welcoming.”
The reports of racist signs emerged with the EFA’s statement but in the immediate aftermath of the game, those watching on were quick to express their disgust at the use of lasers.
Former Scotland international Ally McCoist believes the shootout should have been stopped as soon as the lasers started targeting Salah.
“It’s shocking. The amount of laser lights flashing in his face is scandalous,” he told TalkSport.
“You can’t see his face! They should’ve stopped it immediately. It’s unfair, isn’t it?
“Having a crowd booing you is one thing, you can accept that and say it’s part and parcel of the game.
“But that’s clearly out of order. You can shut off your mind to boos, but having those lasers shining in your face, that’s completely out of order.”