CAIRO: Mohamed Abou-Trika’s lackluster displays of late are down to a mental anguish he suffers, the Ahly schemer said late on Wednesday.
The classy playmaker was criticized by some pundits for failing to shine during Ahly’s past few Egyptian Premier League games, with some of them even calling on him to hang up his boots.
Ahly coach Hossam Al-Badri and veteran midfielder Mohamed Barakat leapt to his defense but Abou-Trika, speaking after Egypt crushed Australia 3-0 in a friendly, admitted that his recent form had not been up to scratch.
"I have to admit that I have been suffering from anguish during the past period, and that is for personal reasons," Abou-Trika, who turned 32 earlier this month, told Egyptian radio in a dejected tone.
"I will reveal those reasons but later, not now. Life is not always good, there are difficulties and troubles.
"God tests the people’s patience and I should be able to overcome all the problems. I can’t perform well when I’m not happy."
Abou-Trika was included in Egypt’s starting line-up for the friendly against Australia at Cairo Stadium.
He produced a fine display and his clever dummy allowed inexperienced striker Ahmed Abdul-Zaher to open the scoring after 29 minutes.
The former Tersana man was replaced early in the second half, making way for forward Geddo who doubled the Pharaohs’ advantage with his first touch.
Tribute to Jose, Shehata
Former Ahly boss Manuel Jose was the one who brought Abou-Trika from Tersana in January 2004 to give him the chance to blossom and eventually earn a cult status among the Red Devils’ faithful.
Under the Portuguese guidance, Abou-Trika played a key role in helping the team win a host of local and continental titles, scoring a handful of decisive goals in the process.
He also flourished under Egypt coach Hassan Shehata, winning with the team three consecutive African Cup of Nations titles.
"Honestly speaking, Shehata and Jose understand me very well. They know how to make me play comfortably," Abou-Trika added.
"I don’t want my words to be misinterpreted, I’m grateful to Al-Badri but I always praise Jose because his impact on the team was great."