Vincent Aboubakar has looked to gain a physiological edge ahead of Cameroon’s crucial Afcon 2021 semi-final with Egypt by downplaying Mohamed Salah’s quality.
Host nation Cameroon will be eyeing up a place in the final against Senegal when they clash with Egypt in the penultimate round, and it appears the battle lines have already been draw before a ball has even been kicked, with Aboubakar pulling no punches pre-match.
Captain of The Indomitable Lions, Aboubakar has been a standout performer at Afcon 2021, with the 30-year-old currently leading the way in the scoring charts with six goals to his name thus far — one ahead of teammaate Karl Toko Ekambi, and three ahead of his next closest challenger.
Salah meanwhile has found the back of the net on only two occasions, but has naturally been an influential presence for Egypt during the competition. Yet to win international silverware, Salah will no doubt be looking to consolidate Egypts’ status as Afcon’s most-decorated country this month (seven titles).
However, by Aboubakar’s own admission, Egypt may not be blessed with the goalscoring machine of unparalleled proportions that they think they have, as he believes Salah isn’t actually that impressive.
Ahead of Cameroon vs Egypt on Thursday evening, Aboubakar told Then24: “He doesn’t impress me much. I say it clearly because I’m an honest person and I have my way of seeing things.
“If he impressed me, I would say so. But he doesn’t impress me much.
“He’s a good player, he scores a lot but he doesn’t produce a lot of stuff in the game.
“Of course, he’s doing good stuff in the Premier League because he’s been in a team that’s been there for years. He’s a good player but not at the level of some like (Kylian) Mbappe.”
Cameroon have enjoyed rip-roaring success at Afcon 2021 so far — largely inspired by Aboubakar’s scoring exploits — comfortably topping their group before knocking out Comoros and Gambia to reach the semi-finals, while for Egypt, it’s been a bit of a slog.
A second-placed finish in Group D wasn’t the sort of dominating form many expected prior to the tournament kicking off, while they required penalties to eliminate Ivory Coast in the first knockout round, before needing extra-time to see off Morocco in the last-eight.
Salah will no doubt be motivated ahead of this clash as he’ll be desperate to seal an ever-elusive first international trophy, so Cameroon will now be hoping that Aboubakar’s comments haven’t just lit another fuse in Liverpool’s lethal forward.