Do not dare doubt my loyalty to Egypt, says Ibrahim Hassan

Eslam Omar, Saturday 19 Feb 2011

Under-fire Zamalek football director Ibrahim Hassan clarifies his comments concerning the protests and hopes Egypt can quickly get past this critical period that harmed football

Ibrahim Hassan

As we have come to expect of them, Egypt’s icons Hossam and Ibrahim Hassan have been at the center of another controversy recently after participating in the pro-Mubarak protests and criticizing some of the anti-government revolts. They have been under fire since then and are seen as the "bad boys" by many of the protestors and football fans.

In an Interview with Ahram Online, Ibrahim Hassan, Zamalek’s football director, defends himself and his twin brother Hossam, Zamalek’s coach, and also talks about the impact of this revolt on his team and Egyptian football.

Ahram Online: Some Egyptian Facebook users named you and your twin brother Hossam in what they call the “25 January revolution’s black-list”, accusing you both of criticizing and humiliating the protesters. Any comments?

Ibrahim Hassan: We didn’t insult or offend anyone, we just expressed our opinions. I say to those who attack me: watch my interviews again. And I say to those who do not agree with me: no offence, but you have to respect my opinion because this is the democracy that you have been fighting for.

AO: But isn’t it true that you were against the people who were protesting?

Hassan: On the contrary, as soon as we returned from Kenya, we praised the protests asking for the change of the regime. We all suffered from corruption in all sectors and we were against it for years. Everybody knows who Hossam and Ibrahim Hassam are and no one should dare doubt our loyalty to Egypt.

AO: Why did you ask the protesters to leave Tahrir square?

Hassan: I stick to what I said and I am going to repeat it once more. Our opinion consisted of three points when President Mubarak promised reforms:

1- We thanked the protesters who forced Mubarak to end the corruption, name a vice-president and a new prime minister and promised that he will not run for presidency again.

2- We asked the people to leave Tahrir square to allow citizens to return to work.

3- Mubarak spent his entire life serving Egypt so we must never humiliate him because nobody is perfect and democracy is about respect.

AO: Do you want to clarify any other points or say anything else to the people that criticized you?

Hassan: I agree with the reforms that the protestors have asked for and they accomplished what they have been fighting for so let’s stop accusing each other and let’s work together for the sake of Egypt.

AO: What do you think about calling off Egypt Cup this season?

Hassan: The protests that happened in Egypt over the past weeks and their consequences, including the suspension of football activities, put the competitions’ committee in a very difficult position. They didn’t have a lot of options, and now we have a new situation and we must deal with it.

AO: There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the future of Ahmed Hossam “Mido”. Have you completed the process of signing him?

Hassan: He has already signed the contracts but we are now waiting for the Egyptian FA to resume normal activity to include him in our squad and also to make a formal request to Ajax (Mido’s former club) to get his licence.

AO: How are your preparations going for the return leg of the CAF Champions League against Kenyan side Ulinzi Stars?

Hassan: We are preparing as usual and we are ready for the game. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) asked us to choose a day between 25 and 27 February for the match and we selected the 27th to have more time.

AO: It has been reported that Hassan Mostafa and Hani Saied - who will reach the end of their contracts in June - are going to quit Zamalek. Can you confirm these reports?

Hassan: Neither Hassan Mostafa nor Hani Saied have talked about leaving. The coaching staff wants both players to stay and extend their contracts. However there are financial and managerial problems inside the club, in addition to the current circumstances in Egypt, that may delay renewing their contracts. We are hoping to solve all these problems very soon in order to keep two of our key players.

Short link: