Egypt-based Links says the Pharaohs are not a one-man team soley dependent on Salah

Former Platinum Stars winger Gift Links is now plying his trade in Egypt for Alassiouty Sport .
Former Platinum Stars winger Gift Links is now plying his trade in Egypt for Alassiouty Sport .
Image: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

South African teenager Gift Links‚ who plays for Alassiouty Sport‚ believes that Egypt are not a one-man team dependent on Mohamed Salah‚ and have the quality to progress into the knockout rounds at the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

Links‚ who played 13 games in the Egyptian Premier League for Alassiouty after signing for them in January‚ believes the Pharaohs’ physicality‚ ability to close the spaces and movement of the ball can make them dangerous at Russia 2018.

Egypt kick off their tournament against Uruguay in Ekaterinburg on Friday (2pm SA time) with the injury doubt over Salah‚ from the cynical foul by Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos in last month’s Uefa Champions League final‚ hanging over them.

Links said the Egyptians have enough quality to be able to compete even if the striker who scored 44 goals for Liverpool in the past season is not passed fit.

“Egypt are not a one-man team‚ because for Salah to perform those players around him in the team have to be in the game‚” 19-year-old former Platinum Stars forward Links said.

“If their performance is high then Salah can be the outstanding player again. But if it’s low then even Salah’s performance is going to be low.”

Also in Egypt's Group A are hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia‚ who kick the World Cup off in Moscow on Thursday (5pm).

The Pharaohs have rebuilt their team from the slump of the beginning of this decade where they failed to qualify for the 2012‚ 2013 and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

Argentinean coach Hector Cuper‚ the former Mallorca and Inter Milan manager‚ has brought the bite back to Egypt blending veterans of the triple Afcon successes of 2006 to 2010‚ such as Ahmed Fathy (33) and goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary‚ to youth.

“He’s a very good coach. Being from Argentina he’s changed the way Egypt are playing now‚ because with the Argentine style they like the ball to move‚” Links said.

“Even Salah has been given confidence in that style‚ because he’s become one of the outstanding players in the world this year.

“I think Egypt have quality players. If they can work as a unit they can make it through to the next round. Then they must just go there and believe in themselves.

“But it’s the World Cup. Every team arrives prepared. So I can’t say that Saudi Arabia is going to lose or that Uruguay are going to win.

“But I think Egypt did well in their preparation games. All they need now is to play their own football. You never know what might happen.

“Their strength is that they can move the ball quickly‚ and they don’t give the opponents space. They are also very dangerous on their counterattack.”