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Ahly's Abou-Treika denies retirement allegations, issues apology

Egypt and Ahly star says he has no intention of hanging up his boots; reveals that he decided not to join the Super Cup game out of fear of new football 'massacre'

Mahmoud Elassal, Saturday 8 Sep 2012
Mohamed Abou-Treika
Mohamed Abou-Treika is out of Ahly's game against Berekum Chelsea (Photo: Ahram)
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Egypt and Ahly star Mohamed Abou-Treika denied rumors Saturday that he would retire from professional football, following his decision not to participate in the Super Cup game against ENPPI.

"I am not considering retirement. I vow to pursue my career with Ahly and I totally respect any decisions that will be taken by the board or the technical staff," the 33-year-old told Ahly's official website.

Abou-Treika announced Friday that he would not take part in Sunday's Super Cup game against ENPPI, in support for the demands of the team's die-hard fans, Ultras Ahlawy group, concerning the notorious Port Said saga.

Consequently, he was left out of Reds' squad for the Super Cup game, which takes place in Alexandria behind closed doors in Sunday.

After deciding that he will not participate in the game, Abou-Treika missed Saturday's morning training session.

Several reports later claimed the Ahly board had been disgruntled with the veteran schemer's decision, which prompted his retirement.

"Abou-Treika didn't request of Ahly's management that he retire football," Abou-Treika's agent told Ahram Online Saturday, refuting the earlier reports.

"He is not fit enough to take part in the Egypt Super Cup game against ENPPI," he added. "He didn't attend Ahly's morning training session as he knows nothing about a session for the sidelined players from the Super Cup."

What further downplayed the retirement claims is that Abou-Treika appeared at the Cairo giants' gym late on Saturday.

Fear of "massacre"

After finalizing his individual training inside the club's gym, Abou-Treika revealed that he had decided to miss out on the Super Cup because he fears the "Port Said massacre" would be repeated in Alexandria.

"When the supporters invaded the Football Association headquarters I felt the Port Said massacre will be repeated," he told the club's website.

"Considering the circumstances and to avoid any more damages, I thought it was better not to hold the Super Cup," he added.

On 1 February, at least 74 spectators – mostly from Ahly's Ultras groups – were killed in the aftermath of a league game between Masry and Ahly, when thousands of home supporters attacked in the stands the Cairo team's fans.

The Ultras groups organised several protests and marches in the following months, but started to turn more aggressive after the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) ignore their demand: to halt domestic football until justice is served.

What added fuel to fire is that EFA spokesman Azmy Megahed, said in a press conference stressed the game would be played, adding in a provocative tone that "if you can do anything to stop it, just do it."  

Shortly afterwards, Ahly's Ultras fans stoned the premises of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) and pledged to storm the Super Cup, which urged Abou-Treika to boycott the game.

Apology

"I didn't mean to embarrass Ahly, the club I am honoured to play for, nor its management that I totally respect and this is not questionable," said Abou-Treika.

"Therefore, I apologise for any embarrassment I may have caused to the board, the team's management and my teammates because I am totally committed by the club's rules.

"My personal opinion should not affect the best interest of the team.

"I talked to the coach (Hossam El-Badry) two days before making my positions public. I told him I am not psychologically ready to feature in this game."

Abou-Treika was criticised by a number of sports pundit for his decision not to play the Super Cup match, while several fans, especially from Ultras groups, heaped praise on him for the same reason.

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