Former Egypt and Ahly defender Wael Gomaa (Photo: Reuters)
Egyptian football club Ahly have given football director Wael Gomaa a "vacation" ahead of a tough Africa Confederation Cup clash in Tunisia.
"Ahly board, under the presidency of Mahmoud Taher, has decided that football director Wael Gomaa will not travel with the team's delegation to Tunisia," the Cairo Giants stated on their official website Thursday.
The team is heading to the North African country to play the fourth round of the Africa Cup group stage against Etoile du Sahel.
"[Gomaa] has been given a vacation until the team return from abroad," Ahly continued in the statement.
There has been speculation over the 40-year-old former defender and member of the Ahly technical staff, especially after the Reds lost their bid for their ninth successive Egyptian Premier League trophy to arch-rivals Zamalek.
"Mahmoud Taher has ordered the football sector not to give any statement to the media except though the (Ahly) media centre," Ahly added.
Many local reports suggested the resignation or sacking of Gomaa after news spread Wednesday about his elimination from the Tunisia trip.
Title holders Ahly are leading Group A with seven points, having defeated two Tunisian teams, Esperance and second-placed Etoile du Sahel, who boast six points, but were held by Stade Malien.
"Saturday's game is very important and will be very tough, contrary to the first-leg [Ahly won 1-0 two weeks ago]," Gomaa was quoted as saying on the club's website earlier Wednesday.
"Etoile du Sahel is the most powerful opponent in the group, but I trust Ahly players and their capabilities," he added.
Bitter rivals Zamalek are on top of Group B, having picked up maximum points from three victories over South Africa's Orlano Pirates, Tunisian team Sfaxian and Congolese outfit Leopards. The Egyptian champions are taking on the latter team away on Sunday.
Gomaa, "The Rock," who won his nickname for his solid defending, joined Ahly in 2001 from Mahalla to play an instrumental role in guiding the team to win 26 different domestic and continental titles.
At the international level, Gomaa was a key figure on the Pharaohs team in the last decade, guiding them to win three successive Africa Cup of Nations titles, in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
Gomaa has worked under the guidance of former coach Juan Carlos Garrido and remained in his post when current coach Fathi Mabrouk took the lead.
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