Zamalek chairman says Degla keeper was protected by 'ghosts and jinns'

Hatem Maher, Tuesday 13 May 2014

Zamalek's controversial chairman Mortada Mansour believes superstitious factors were to blame for the team's 2-2 Egyptian Premier League draw with Wadi Degla on Tuesday

Essam El Hadary
Former Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary(Photo:Ahram)

Zamalek chairman Mortada Mansour said Wadi Degla keeper Essam El-Hadary was protected by "ghosts and jinns" after the former Egypt custodian pulled off a string of impressive saves in a 2-2 Egyptian Premier League draw on Tuesday.

Speaking to CBC television after Zamalek snatched a last-gasp draw, controversial lawyer Mansour, who is known for his fiery and bizarre remarks, said superstitious factors had empowered the 41-year-old keeper during the thrilling game.

"It's true that El-Hadary saved some shots, I should praise him for that. But some other efforts, which he did not save, strangely missed the target. But I know why: this is mainly because of the help he gets from ghosts and jinns," said Mansour, who was elected as Zamalek's chairman for a third stint in March.

"And this is not new. I know the sheikh who helped him with that during his days as Egypt's number one keeper. And by the way, I'm not joking," he added.

Similar remarks are not uncommon in Egyptian football.

Former Masry chairman Sayed Metwali, a prominent businessman, had similar complaints shortly before he died in 2008, saying his side's shots went astray because of "ghost work".

Former Zamalek coach Hossam Hassan also once said the walls of the dressing room were full of "drawings of magic".

Mansour announced last month that he intended to run for Egypt's presidency but eventually reversed his decision, throwing his weight behind former army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who is expected to easily win the 26-27 May elections.

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