Saturday,24 June, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1341, (20 - 26 April 2017)
Saturday,24 June, 2017
Issue 1341, (20 - 26 April 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Zamalek lose without playing

Mortada Mansour is at it again as Zamalek’s president decides not to play an official domestic fixture

Zamalek’s controversial president Mortada Mansour just can’t stay away from controversy but this time he took it to a whole new level, ordering his team to skip their official domestic league game against Maqasa and instead hold a regular training session.

Yes, you read it right. Zamalek did not show up at Petrosport Stadium for the game against Maqasa. Maqasa players were on the field and the referee waited 20 minutes before blowing his whistle, as is standard procedure in no-show cases.

After numerous threats and promises to abandon the league and boycott several games, Mansour finally made good on a threat when he said his team would not play Maqasa on Sunday 16 April.

The issue started when Mansour agreed with Maqasa to postpone their game which was supposed to be on 15 April to 18 April without getting back to the Egyptian Football Federation. He cited “security and safety” behind postponing the game as Egyptians would be busy celebrating the Coptic Easter holiday and that security in the country would be more focused on the celebrations, especially after the recent bombings of two churches in Tanta and Alexandria.

However, the Egyptian FA replied to both teams saying that the game will be changed to 16 April, not 18 April. While Maqasa accepted the FA’s decision, Mansour said he would not play on 16 April and insisted on 18 April after the end of the Easter celebrations. Mansour even said EFA head Hani Abu Rida had told him the game would be played on 18 April.

The sight of Maqasa’s players warming up for the game on the field and waiting for their rivals to show up was nothing short of a disgrace and an embarrassment to one of the biggest names in African football, not just Egypt.

What makes it even worse is that Mansour is obviously very proud of what he did and went as far as saying that his team didn’t abandon the game because it was supposed to be played on Tuesday, not Sunday. He declared that the letter he received from the EFA saying the game was on Sunday is fake.

Zamalek’s biggest failure this season is not failing to challenge Ahly for the league title. Ahly are leading the table with 64 points, with second-placed Maqasa on 57 and fourth-placed Zamalek on 40 but with a game in hand.

Zamalek’s biggest failure has been their inability to find a way to stop their president from making a mockery of the club time and time again. From their numerous threats to abandon the league, stopping a league game for more than 15 minutes because of a refereeing blunder, changing coaches every few weeks and now skipping a league game, things will stay the same as long as Mansour is the president of the club.

Mansour is threatening to take the whole issue to FIFA, complaining that the Egyptian FA is getting the government involved which is against FIFA rules and which may lead to the stoppage of the Egyptian league altogether.

We don’t know what will happen next. The Egyptian federation decided on Tuesday 18 April that Maqasa won the game that was not played 2-0 and will be awarded three points by default. The remaining decision will be taken after Zamalek decides whether they will play their remaining games. Zamalek could have six points deducted, pay a huge fine and may even be relegated to the second division.

Let’s just hope that whatever decision the Egyptian FA takes will be for the benefit of the competition and all its clubs including Zamalek whose fans are getting increasingly frustrated and depressed with the attitude and actions of their president who thinks the fans of the club love him which is very far from the truth.

Egyptian fans have been mocking Mansour for his numerous unfulfilled promises but this time they mocked him for fulfilling the most bizarre of promises in recent history as he dragged the name of his club to more controversy than ever before.

The president of Zamalek is simply insisting on destroying the image of the club and every time we think it can’t get any worse he somehow manages to prove us wrong.

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