Ahly’s Barakat reverses decision to quit football

Hatem Maher, Wednesday 22 Feb 2012

Ahly midfielder Mohamed Barakat announces he will carry on playing after reversing a decision to hang up his boots

Mohamed Barakat

Ahly’s Mohamed Barakat, who made headlines after announcing he would retire following the Port Said tragedy, has on Wednesday reversed his abrupt decision.

The veteran midfielder said in a phone interview with Ahly’s in-house channel that he would accompany the team in their trip to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday to hold a training camp.

“Coach Manuel Jose talked to me a lot about that matter. He told me it was not right to abandon football. Football director Sayed Abdel-Hafiz also echoed his sentiment,” Barakat said.

“My family also shared their view. My father told me I should not let down my fans, who were the ones who made me a star.

“I felt I could no longer carry on but my close associates convinced me to change my mind. I will be with the team in their trip to the UAE.”

Domestic football activities were suspended following Egypt’s worst football disaster, which occurred when thousands of Masry fans invaded the pitch to confront Ahly’s visiting supporters following the end of a league game on the first of February.

Barakat was one of Ahly’s panicked players who phoned the club’s TV channel after rushing to the dressing room following the final whistle.

He accused football authorities of only caring about money through running the league competition “at all costs."

The 35-year-old has been one of Ahly’s most consistent performers since joining in 2004. He played a key role in helping the Red Devils win seven league titles and three Champions League accolades among other minor triumphs.

His memorable goals include the final strike in a 3-0 home victory over Tunisia’s Etoile Sahel in the 2005 Champions League final and a last-gasp equalizer that helped Ahly draw 3-3 with arch-rivals Zamalek in the Cairo derby in 2010.

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