Chechen leader Kadyrov denies sabotaging Egypt's World Cup chances

The controversial figure has claimed that he did not have any impact on Egypt’s failure to pick up a point in either of their first two games

Leader of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov has denied that he was in any way involved in Egypt’s 3-1 defeat to Russia, which essentially knocked them out of the World Cup.

Egypt are based in Chechnya for the duration of the tournament, training and staying in Grozny between matches. The 32 World Cup finalists were given a list of 67 training centres to choose from, with Egypt choosing the Chechen capital in February.

They selected Grozny as it is one of the largest cities with a majority-Muslim population in Russia. It is the home to the gigantic Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Europe, which can accommodate up to 10,000 worshipers.

Ahead of the tournament, Egypt talisman Mohamed Salah was photographed with Kadyrov, with human-rights campaigners claiming that the former rebel was using the Liverpool forward for publicity purposes.

The controversial leader was delighted with Russia’s 3-1 win on Tuesday night, which gave the tournament hosts the perfect start following their 5-0 victory in the opening game with Saudi Arabia.

However, he denied that he had any influence on the result, claiming he did not sabotage Egypt’s World Cup campaign.

“I had nothing to do with it, it’s all down to the Russian players, their professionalism, and of course our belief in their victory,” Kadyrov wrote on the Telegram messenger service, as quoted by

Shortly after the match Kadyrov issued a statement congratulating the ‘main fan of Russia’s national team’ President Vladimir Putin, praising his countrymen and particularly those in Chechnya who had supported the team.

“First of all, the Chechens cheered for the Russian national team, then our players,” Kadryov said. “And, of course, Egypt has become our home team. 

“I want to congratulate the most important fan – the president of the country, who created the conditions for us, raised Russia, put us on a new level and did everything for Russia to show itself in sport, industry, everywhere, everywhere. We rise.”

Egypt’s elimination from the World Cup was finally confirmed on Wednesday when the final whistle of Uruguay’s win over Saudi Arabia sounded. 

Salah’s team could have mathematically stayed in contention until the final round of fixtures had Saudi Arabia grabbed a win, but Luis Suarez’s solitary goal meant both countries saw their knock-out stage chances evaporate. 

Fellow north African side Morocco were the first team to miss out on the last 16 thanks to defeat at the hands of Portugal earlier on Wednesday.

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