Ahly playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika believes the Egyptian revolution will stimulate the national team in their bid to reach next year’s African Cup of Nations finals in Guinea and Equatorial Guinea.
A disappointing start to their qualifying campaign has left the African champions bottom of their group with just one point from two games, three behind leaders South Africa whom they face in a crucial clash in March.
The Pharaohs’ preparations for the anticipated game were disrupted by an unavoidable Egyptian Premier League stoppage following the popular 18-day uprising which brought president Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule to an end.
Egypt coach Hassan Shehata said recently he hoped the Confederation of African Football (CAF) would agree to postpone the game but Abou-Treika says the team have what it takes to overcome the tight situation.
“I know that people are worried over our chances of qualifying for the Nations Cup but I’m not worried at all,” Abou-Treika, who played a key role in Egypt’s 2006 and 2008 African triumphs, said in an interview with Alarabiya.net.
“This revolution will greatly motivate us to successfully complete the qualifiers regardless of the hard times the country endured during the past weeks.
“I and my teammates will fight to achieve our target of reaching the Nations Cup, because it will not be acceptable that the holders miss out on the tournament.”
Abou-Treika, who is widely acclaimed for being a well-mannered footballer, has remained largely quiet during the incessant protests which were ignited by the Egyptian youth.
He was eventually seen performing Friday’s prayer in Tahrir square, the same day Mubarak stepped down.
“Some people criticized the Egyptian players and accused them of being against the revolution but this is not true. All the players agreed that this revolution was necessary to improve our living conditions. It was a turning point in the country’s history,” Abou-Treika added.
“I was eager to take part in the protests from the very begining but I feared that the limelight might be stolen from the youths, who are the real heroes of this revolution.”
There were calls demanding the resignation of Shehata after he publicly endorsed Mubarak. Zamalek coach Hossam Hassan and his twin Ibrahim, who is the club’s football director, were also vilified for the same reason.