Egypt footballing legend Abu Trika defiant after asset seizure
Mohammad Abu Trika
Local media reported that a government-run committee seized a tourism company co-owned by Abu Trika over purported ties with the Brotherhood, which Egyptian authorities have banned and designated as a terrorist organization.
There was no official confirmation the reported confiscation. However, Abu Trika, nicknamed by his devotees as the “Prince of Hearts”, implicitly denounced the move.
“We earn money to keep it in our hands, not in our hearts. You can seize money or seize whoever you want, but I will not leave this country. I will continue to work here for the welfare of the country,” Abou Treika said in a tweet on his official account.
Abu Trika, now aged 36, quit footballing in 2013 after playing for the top Cairo club Al Ahaly and Egypt’s national team. He played a major role in Egypt’s win of the African Cup of Nations in 2006 and 2008.
Since his retirement, he has often travelled outside Egypt to attend football events.
Abu Trika repeatedly voiced his backing to president Mohammad Mursi of the Brotherhood whom the army deposed in 2013 after enormous street protests against his year-long rule. However, Abu Trika has not said clearly he is a member of the Islamist group.
The news of seizing Abu Trika’s assets generated instant condemnation from his fans and even politicians.
“You’ll continue to be a symbol of all beautiful meanings in Egypt,” commented Nader Bakar, a senior member of the pro-government Salafist Al Nour Party, addressing Abou Treika. “Egyptians will continue to be able to distinguish between the reformist and the spoiler,” Bakar added on his Twitter page.
Ismail Hanaiya, a senior official in the Palestinian Islamist Hamas group, joined the pro-Abu Trika campaign.
“May God compensate you. This is better than the money of this world, you wizard,” Hanaiya said in a tweet.
Ties between Hamas, seen as a Brotherhood offshoot, and Egypt have soured since Mursi’s overthrow.
Hundreds of the Brotherhood leaders and Mursi’s backers have been detained and put on trial since his ouster.