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Abou-Treika: Brazil 2014 hopes and honoring the 72 at Bani Yas
After putting pen to paper yesterday in Abu Dhabi to complete a six-month loan move from Al-Ahly to Bani Yas, Mohamed Abou-Treika spoke at the press conference today held by the Emirati club to announce his arrival.
Mohamed Abou-Treika had his first training session with the Sky Blues in the evening but is expected to catch up with the Egypt squad in Spain on Monday morning. He will return to the UAE capital on Thursday well in advance of Bani Yas’ Sunday Presidents Cup clash with Al-Ain.
Abou-Treika assured he will be joining the Egypt squad in Madrid for this Wednesday’s friendly game against Chile at the Vicente Calderon, with officials at his new club Bani Yas saying they are keen on keeping the Egyptian’s World Cup dream alive.
“One of the reasons that I have come here is my country’s team,” Abou-Treika told reporters after signing the contract.
“It is an honor for me to be part of my national team and one of my biggest goals is to qualify with Egypt to the 2014 World Cup. There is complete understanding between me and the club and they have been responding well (to the requests of the national team). And I’m sure there will be no problem with my regard to my duties towards Egypt.”
Abou-Treika is known to use football as a tool for change and a medium to deliver a message and the 34-year-old will be deserting his signature jersey number of 22 to wear No72 instead as a tribute to the victims of the Port Said massacre.
“Everyone knows how important the number 22 is for me but this is an important message close to my heart,” said Abou-Treika, who was on the pitch at the Port Said Stadium the night of the tragedy and had one of the victims die in his arms while trapped in the dressing room.
“The fact that I am now in Bani Yas does not mean that I have forgotten the Ahly fans who lost their lives that day, nor will I forget their families.”
“I always say that as a footballer, you have a message you can convey besides football. You can convey that through the way you behave, through your social relationships, through your extracurricular activities. I always pay attention to the matters of my nation and I consider that we, the Arab world, are one fabric. There is no difference between Egypt or the Emirates or Palestine or any Arab country. I am here as an ambassador from my country to a brother country. I hope I meet everyone’s expectations and I hope that all the Arab fans in the UAE can support me in my experience with Bani Yas,” added Abou-Treika.
Reem Abulleil is an Egyptian reporter and sub-editor for UAE sports daily, Sport360, and holds a Masters Degree in Sports Journalism. She has also contributed to Eurosport, BBC World Service, The Guardian, Dubai TV and radio among other media outlets. You can follow her on Twitter @ReemAbulleil.