Sunday,22 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1169, (24 - 30 October 2013)
Sunday,22 July, 2018
Issue 1169, (24 - 30 October 2013)

Ahram Weekly

An icon’s decision

Treika says he will hang up his boots. Ahmed Hamdi reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

After spending a sad evening watching their national team loses 6-1 to Ghana, Egyptians were to receive more bad news as Mohamed Abu Treika, Egypt’s No 1 star and icon, announced he was retiring. The attacking midfielder is set to put an end to his career after his team Ahli’s journey in the African Champions League. The 34-year-old led his team to the final of that tournament which qualifies the winner to the FIFA Club World Cup, a tournament that he has shined at before.
No one was shining though in the Ghana match that led Treika to take his decision. It was a match that Egyptians will try but fail to forget their entire lives after a scandal in Kumasi in which Egypt fell victim to Ghana 6-1, the lone goal scored by Treika himself. The match brought Egypt’s dream of qualifying to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to an end as well as Treka’s last chance to play in the international tournament.
Having won all tournaments possible on the continental level, the “The Smiling Assassin” was pursuing the dream of representing his country on the biggest stage of all. The end of the dream meant the end of his motivation to continue on the green grass.
This is not the first time that Treika announces his retirement from football. The international player did so before right after the Port Said massacre in which 72 of Ahli’s fans were killed in a riot after a match between Masri and Ahli in February last year. Back then he announced his retirement saying he can’t play football in such an atmosphere and after the blood he witnessed shed. He changed his mind later. Many fans hope Treika will change it again.
The 34-year-old started his career playing for Tersana at the age of 12. He wore the blue shirt of the Egyptian Arsenal for 14 years. Throughout these years Tersana was between first and second division. Treika was named top scorer of the second division once. His outstanding abilities though were shown off a little late when he transferred to Ahli at 26 years of age. From his first season with the red devils, Treika proved to be a unique player, quickly becoming the superstar of the team.
Wearing the number 22, the attacking midfielder has made it legendary. With that number Treika brought seven leagues, two local cups, four Champions League cups, and three African Super Cups for his team. He also led Ahli to a bronze medal in the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup. Treika was chosen second best player in Africa in 2008 and best player “playing inside the continent” in the same year and in 2012. He was also named in 2008 the Best Player in Africa, according to the BBC.
On the international level, Treika was only partially successful. “El Magico” led Egypt to two of its three consecutive Africa Cup of Nations reigns. In 2006 he scored the last penalty in the shootout between Egypt and Ivory Coast which led Egypt to win the Africa Cup of Nations for the fifth time in history. The sixth time also came through “the blessed one” scoring the winner against Cameroon in the final of the 2008 edition.
Showing off his golden quality on the international level, Treika also led Egypt to an amazing performance in the 2009 Confederation Cup despite being knocked out from the group stage. They had lost to Brazil 4-3 in the dying minutes, then upset Italy, the defending World Cup champions at the time, 1-0. He also captained Egypt in the last Olympics forming a fabulous duo with Mohamed Salah.
That duo led Egypt throughout the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and #put Egypt on top of its group to take it to the final round before the fateful encounter with Ghana.
The shattered dream in that final round was not the first for Treika. Three times Treika has gone after his dream of representing Egypt in the World Cup. The first was in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers. Although he was one of the best players on the team, he could not lead Egypt to steal the world cup ticket from Drogba’s Ivory Coast.
The 2010 qualifiers was the closest Treika got to his dream after drawing with Algeria in points and goals at the group stage and going for one last playoff in Sudan. Algeria’s player Antar Yehia buried that dream as well with a goal that led “The Desert Warriors” to the World Cup.
Treika might dream of a 5-0 win against Ghana in the return match here in Egypt in mid-November although he himself believes it being somehow impossible against a very strong Ghana. However, Treika, who still gives much innovation on the pitch looked out of focus in Ahli’s last match against Coton of Cameroon on Sunday. He missed the first penalty in the shootouts and was not seen much during the match. It seemed that Treika has mentally retired already. Will he insist on his retirement this time or will it turn out to be another emotional announcement? Fans will just have to wait and see.

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