CAIRO: Egypt’s national soccer team threatened to abstain from participating in games and practice until talk show host Amr Adib makes a formal apology for “claiming that the players [had] brought back five prostitutes to their hotel rooms in South Africa to celebrate their historic win over Italy on Thursday.
The team also threatened to sue Adib, team captain Ahmed Hassan said on “El-Beit Beitak talk show.
Other news reports suggest that popular striker Mohamed Abou-Trika threatened to step down in defense of his team’s honor unless an apology was made.
On his popular nightly show “Al-Qahera Al-Youm Sunday, Adib criticized the team’s poor performance in their match against the United States, quoting news reports accusing them of bringing prostitutes to their hotel rooms after they beat Italy.
“Egyptian players involved in the Confederations Cup who claimed money was stolen from their hotel had invited prostitutes to their room who apparently made off with their money, police told local media in South Africa on Sunday.
South African police declined to confirm the allegations, but senior police told the Sunday Independent newspaper that there was no sign of forced entry and that the players had been partying with women invited to their rooms, reported AFP.
Players were quick to phone in and defend themselves. Mohamed Zidan dismissed those reports as rumors, saying there was heavy security around their rooms and no one was allowed inside without permission from the head of the delegation.
Hassan and Abou-Trika also called in defending the team saying they all pray and read the Quran and that such rumors shouldn’t be circulating because the players have families, adding that just because they lost a game doesn’t mean that they have no morals.
The front page headline of South African tabloid newspaper Sunday World read: “Hookers: 5 Egypt: 0, Five prostitutes hit the Pharaohs for R20,000 in hotel ‘theft.’
During the show, Abou-Trika gave the phone to coach Hassan Shehata, who told Adib “You’ve joined the club, referring to other presenters and journalists who have continuously attacked Shehata and the national team.
The coach then grew more furious, yelling, “We don’t want to play football [.] to hell with all of you! then hung up, to which Adib commented sarcastically, “These are the manners of people who pray.
Despite the people’s disappointed at the team and their performance in the match, many sided with them against Adib, expressing their anger in online forums such as Facebook. A number of support groups have also cropped up on the social networking website.
The group ‘A Call to boycott Amr Adib’ said, “This is a guy who tarnished the image of the highly respectable players of our national soccer team with his sick behavior which only aims at creating a buzz around his show at the expense of people’s reputations.