Fans of Egypt's Al-Ahly, known as "Ultras," show a 3D figure of former player Mohamed Abo Trika. (File photo: Reuters)
Egyptian footballers have shown their support for Mohamed Abou-Treika, who is widely regarded as one of the best footballers in Egypt’s history, after media reports on Thursday said that the central bank had confiscated his assets.
Abou-Treika is accused of having ties to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, alleging that he owned a tourism company linked to the Islamist group during president Mohamed Morsi’s short one-year reign.
The footballing star said in a brief statement on his Facebook and Twitter accounts that "we earn money to keep it in our hands, not in our hearts. You can seize money or seize whoever you want, but I will not leave this country and I will continue to work here."
Many Egyptian footballers vowed support for Abou-Treika starting from Egypt's most-capped player, Ahmed Hassan.
"Away from the personal, political loyalty, I will continue witnessing that this person (Abou-Treika) is well-mannered until the end of my life," Hassan wrote on his personal Facebook account.
A hugely popular footballing figure, Abou-Treika hung up his boots in late 2013 after leading Egypt’s most successful club Ahly to a host of domestic and continental trophies, earning cult status among their faithful. He was also instrumental in helping Egypt win African Cup of Nations titles in 2006 and 2008.
Zamalek's popular midfielder Omar Gaber also came out in support for Abou-Treika, saying: "I'm so proud to have played with a legend such as yourself."
Gaber and Abou-Treika were part of Egypt national team before the latter announced his retirement from football.
Egypt and Ahly goalkeeper Sherif Ekrami joined Abou-Treika's support hashtags, saying: "No one can doubt his national loyalty as well as his humane treatment of others."
"His money and sources of his income are an open book for all. Your place in Egyptian hearts is enough," Ekrami wrote on his Twitter account.
Zamalek icon Ahmed Hossam "Mido" who has different points of view with Abou-Treika also supported the iconic star publishing a photo of the star wearing the Egypt national team shirt.
"I hope from Allah his crisis could be solved soon as I am ready to do anything to achieve that despite our differences."
"I hope investigations will prove that he's not involved, God be with you Treika," Mido wrote on his Instagram.
The 36-year-old Abou-Treika publicly supported Morsi during the first post-Hosni Mubarak presidential elections in 2012 but has remained largely tight-lipped following the Islamist president’s overthrow after mass protests against his one-year rule.
Pro-state media constantly accuse him of being a member of the Brotherhood.
Zamalek striker Bassem Morsi also revealed his support for Abou-Treika saying "Those who'll come will come and those who'll go will go but Treika will remain adored by the people,"
Egyptian star Ahmed Hamoudi who plays for Swiss side Basel has contributed in Abou-Treika's support saying "Abou-Treika is loved by the simple people and all the people,"
Former Egypt and Ahly teammate Mohamed Nagy "Gedo" said on his twitter account: "This confiscation won't affect Abou-Treika only but also a lot of families and people who are supported by him. God made him a source of income for them… God be with you Abou-Treika."
The four-time Africa-based player of the year is well-known for humanitarian and charity roles as he is reportedly supporting many needy families, making donations to hospitals, shelters and pro-bono ads for charity institutions.
Other players published Abou-Treika's photos in their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts in a support for the iconic footballer.
Egyptian daily El-Watan said the central bank had acted upon the instructions of a committee drawn up to seize and manage the Muslim Brotherhood’s funds and properties following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Social media users also created several hashtags to support Abou-Treika.
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