Omar Gaber: The Zamalek star who refused to play after fans killed

Mahmoud Elassal , Monday 9 Feb 2015

Zamalek midfielder Omar Gaber is set to be suspended after refusing to play game at which fans died

Zamalek's Omar Gaber points to the badge of Zamalek while saluting the fans during a Premier League game against ENPPI on Sunday, which was preceded with deadly clashes between fans and security forces that left at least 19 dead (Photo: Suhail Saleh)

After refusing to take part in the game against ENPPI due to the death of fans outside the stadium, Zamalek midfielder Omar Gaber made big news as supporters praised his decision while the team's management is set to suspend him.

In the wake of the Air Defence stadium disaster, the 23-year-old midfielder refused to take part in the game after he was informed that fans had died.

Zamalek fans appreciated the player's decision on social media and thanked Gaber for his support.

Gaber, who came through the youth ranks of Zamalek, is a long-time supporter of the ultras. An interview he made last year, in which he lauded the ardent fan group, landed him in hot water with club chairman and outspoken lawyer Mortada Mansour. 

From their side, Zamalek board member Ahmed Mortada Mansour, the son of the club's chairman, said that the management will punish the player for his action and he is expected to be suspended for an undisclosed period.

According to the health ministry, 19 people died after clashes occurred between the police and Zamalek supporters before the match.

Investigations are still ongoing as police claim they died due to a stampede, while the Zamalek Ultras White Knights said a criminal plot was pre-planned, blaming new security procedures that included the installation of a 'metal cage' for the fans to enter at the stadium gates.

The match was open to the public, unlike previous Egyptian League games since stadium riots in Port Said in 2012 left 72 people dead in the country's worst-ever sport disaster.

Egypt’s cabinet suspended the league on Monday in the wake of the Air Defence stadium disaster, following a meeting between Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and the interior, sports and health ministers to discuss the disaster.

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