Nagrig, Egypt where every kid dreams of being Mo Salah
Every football-crazy kid has a player they look up to. In Nagrig, Egypt, children dream of becoming like local hero and Liverpool ace, Mohamed Salah.
Every football-crazy kid has a player they look up to or pretend to be when they're out playing with their friends. In Nagrig, Egypt, children dream of becoming like local hero, Mohamed Salah - Liverpool's tireless top scorer and recently-crowned African Player of the Year.
Mohamed Salah, Nagrig's most famous son
Salah, who hails from their village, has lit up the Premier League since his arrival at Liverpool, where he is blazing past club records - some of which have stood for over a century. His strike in Sunday's away win against Southampton was his 29th of the season - his 24th in the Premier League. Over the years Liverpool's Spion Kop have worshipped some of the club's most distinguished players - Billy Liddell, Roger Hunt, Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, Rush, Fowler, Gerrard... Salah has only been at Anfield since the summer and yet his name is already being mentioned in the same breath as the club's most legendary figures.
Salah steers Egypt to the World Cup finals
It's clear that he's idolized in equal measures back home. He further enhanced his status as a national hero by playing a decisive role in leading Egypt to this year's World Cup finals in Russia. And tomorrow, his talent will be on show in the Champions League as Liverpool tackle Porto in the first knockout round.
In Nagrig, deep in Egypt's Nile Delta region, 12-year-old Mohamed Abdel-Gawad gazes in admiration at the three-storey house where Salah was born and raised, which overlooks a narrow dirt road like most of the houses in the village, about 120 kilometres northwest of Cairo.
"I hope to be like Mohamed Salah when I grow up," Abdel-Gawad told AFP. "Mohamed Salah has become a professional player because of his ethics and humbleness."
Never stop dreaming
In Nagrig as well as in Basyoun, the closest town, the youth centres were renamed after the Egyptian star. Fully aware that his success has become an inspiration for children in Egypt and Africa more widely, Salah addressed them in his acceptance speech when he won the CAF African Player of the Year accolade in January, telling them: "Never stop dreaming, never stop believing."