CAIRO: Egyptian striker Mido should not have rowed with team coach Hassan Shehata but his instant six-month ban is too harsh, his teammates said on Wednesday.
Mido will miss Friday s African Nations Cup final against the Ivory Coast after his furious exchange with Shehata after being substituted 12 minutes from the end of Tuesday s 2-1 semi-final win over Senegal.
Striker Hossam Hassan, who had to restrain Mido during his altercation with Shehata, told reporters: My own feeling is that the decision was out of proportion. We needed Mido in this game.
I have known him since we were kids, he s just eager to play, said 39-year-old Hassan, one of the most revered figures in African football.
He tried to apologize for what happened but the FA people made the problem bigger. Mido is not the only one to lose out – it s the whole team, the fans and the Egyptian football federation.
People might think I m wrong but I ve seen that happen with other big players who got upset. We ve made a problem for ourselves and I m not happy with this decision.
Shehata was vindicated by his decision to replace the Tottenham Hotspur striker in the 78th minute as substitute Amr Zaki headed the winner just three minutes later. Mido is a guy who plays with his heart, said Hassan.
He wanted to play right to the end especially because we were drawing 1-1. He is one of the most passionate players around. A mistake was made, but we should not blame Mido.
Midfielder Mohamed Barakat told Reuters: We are all frustrated by this. We need Mido because he can play anywhere on the pitch.
The fact that he is not here is making us weaker. But we have to accept that Mido is not going to be here.
We have to be self-sufficient and any player who replaces him has to do the business. We have Hossam Hassan, Emad Moteab and Amr Zaki and if Allah wills it we will win, whether Mido is here or not.
Giving an insight into events behind the scenes, Barakat added: Mido said I want to stay with the squad to the end – don t exclude me, even if I made a mistake.
It was a nice thing for him to have said. For me, what happened yesterday was out of jealousy and love.
Even if he was a bit out of line, it was just a clarification between him and the coach.
Defender Wael Gomaa also felt Mido s commitment to the cause was behind the outburst.
I think Mido was wrong in what he did. But Mido is still young and he is not experienced. He wants to be on the field and wants to score goals but his behavior is not good.
With the score at 1-1, Gomaa feared for the worst after Mido s tantrum.
In my mind I thought we will lose after something like this. But thank God for the win. It was a very difficult moment but that s football. Reuters