Egyptian football player fired over anti-Sisi comments
A prominent Egyptian football player has lost his job after criticizing President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Facebook over Cairo’s handling of rising militant attacks in the restive Sinai Peninsula.
The Wadi Degla football club in Egypt’s premier league terminated Ahmad el-Merghany’s contract two days after the influential midfielder posted the anti-Sisi comments on his personal Facebook account.
“Everyone is dying, civilians, soldiers and policemen. Where are you from all of this? All we ever get from you is talk with no actions,” Merghany wrote on his Facebook page.
The 27-year-old player called Sisi “a failure,” holding the army chief-turned-president responsible for “every spill of blood” in the North African state.
The comments come after 70 people, mostly soldiers, were killed by Takfiri militants south of the Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid, northeast of the capital, Cairo, earlier this week.
Gunmen have intensified terrorist attacks in Sinai ever since Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, was toppled in a military coup led by Sisi, the then army chief, in July 2013.
Merghany’s termination from his career is the latest in a series of measures taken against popular football stars in Egypt because of their stance on the current policies of the military-backed government in Cairo.
Authorities last month confiscated ownership certificates of one of the country’s former football stars after accusing his company of supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.
The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed as a terrorist organization in late 2013 following the overthrow of Morsi, who is affiliated with the movement.
Since then, the Egyptian army has launched a brutal crackdown on Morsi’s supporters.