Abou-Treika declines 'Match for Peace' over 'Zionist' participation

Omar Zaazou , Monday 18 Aug 2014

Abou-Treika stated on Twitter that he needs to 'set an example to the new generation' and reject cooperation with Zionists -- a reference to the presence of Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun

File Photo: Former Ahly and Egypt's icon Mohamed Abou Traika wears a tee shirt reading 'Sympathize with Gaza' as he celebrates his goal 1-0 against Sudan in Kumasi 26 January 2008 during the African Cup of Nations football championship (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Former Ahly and Egypt star Mohamed Abou-Treika has turned down an invitation to take part in a friendly match organised by Pope Francis because of the participation of "Zionists."

"I rejected the invitation because of the [participation] of the Zionist entity. We are setting an example to the new generation," he said on his Twitter account on Sunday. 

The 35-year-old, who joined Ahly from Tersana in January 2004, was an inspiration for both Ahly and Egypt.

He heralded a golden age with Ahly collecting 22 trophies with the Red Devils, including five Champions League titles and a bronze medal at the 2006 Club World Cup.

He helped Egypt win three consecutive African Championship titles in 2006, 2008, and 2010.

He also won the Africa-based Player of the Year Award in 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2013.

The Inter-religious Match for Peace, which takes place at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on 1 September, is a friendly overseen by the Roman Catholic Church aimed at uniting people of different religions.

Abou-Treika is thought to be referring to ex-Liverpool and Chelsea Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun who will play in the match.

Abou-Treika once displayed a shirt reading "Sympathise with Gaza" in an African Cup of Nations' match.

Over 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in recent weeks after Israel launched a military offensive against Gaza in July. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and three civilians have also been killed since the assault started.
A ceasefire that brought fighting to a halt is due to expire later on Monday although Egyptian-mediated indirect talks are ongoing.
Former veteran centre-half Wael Gomaa has been also invited to participate but has yet to declare his stance, but is expected to adopt a similar position.

The friendly match will involve world class players like Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Buffon, Zinedine Zidane, Javier Zanetti, Roberto Baggio, Andrea Pirlo, Yuto Nagatomo and Samuel Eto'o.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link: