Thursday, March 27, 2008

Egypt Keeper Feels the Heat


Sometimes winning trophies is not enough.

Ask Fabio Capello all about that. He's won the Spanish championship twice with Real Madrid and been fired right after the celebrations both times ...

This time, it's Egyptian goalkeeper Essam Al Hadari who is feeling the heat.

Al Hadari was instrumental in helping Egypt win their second consecutive African Cup of Nations title this past February.

So even though Egypt lost to two-time World Cup winners Argentina 2-0 in Cairo yesterday, why was Al Hadari being booed so vociferously?

Well, his fall from grace probably began right after he tried to join Swiss club FC Sion in late February without the consent of his current club, Al Ahly, the most successful team in Egypt.

Al Hadari, 35, had sought to terminate his contract in line with Article 17 of FIFA's transfer regulations which allows players to cancel their contracts after a "protected period".

Al Hadari had hoped that, because of his extended service at Ahly, he would be allowed to end his contract and move to Sion for a compensatory payment of 270,000 euros, the equivalent of the rest of his contract with the Cairo club.

After being unveiled as a new signing by Sion and agreeing a deal until 2011, Al Hadari returned to Egypt at the start of the month when it became clear he could not make the move because he had not given Al Ahly the required notice period.

Confusing, no? Basically, he tried to leave and Al Ahly said no.

The move has sparked an unprecedented wave of anger from club supporters and a rare, though unsuccessful, intervention by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to ease the tension.

During the match against Argentina, large sections of the crowd at Cairo stadium booed Al Hadari every time he touched the ball.

And when his ill positioning allowed Argentine defender Nicolas Burdisso to score the second goal, many grabbed the opportunity to gloat.

"I whistled every time he touched the ball and will do this at every game for the national team as long as he is still playing," 31-year-old Al Ahly supporter Sherif Abdel-Rahman told Reuters.

"He (Al Hadari) has erected a wall between himself and the Al Ahly fans, and this wall will never be brought down," said Egyptian FA Vice President Ahmed Shoubeir.

Many supporters still call for the goalkeeper to be expelled from the club and others said he should never be allowed to play for Egypt again.

Egyptian media have given what they described as the "Al Hadari crisis" front-page treatment next to stories about nationwide bread shortages.

The situation could become unbearable for Mr. Al Hadari, if it isn't already so ...

3 comments:

Football Bet King said...

I'm not sure what his antics for his club have to do with his playing for Egypt to be honest.

He has been a great servant for his country, and continues to be. He won Best Goalkeeper at ACN 2008! Surely the Egyptian fans should put aside club differences for the greater good of the country, the same way an Italian Inter Milan fan will still support Paulo Maldini when he's playing for Italy, or an English Liverpool fan will still support Wayne Rooney for England.

The Egyptian boss said there was no linking between Al-Ahly's crisis with Al-Hadari and the goalie's participation in matches with Egypt. He's quite correct.

Let the fans boo him when he turns out for Al-Ahly!!

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