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Coulibaly advises African players against joining Arab teams


Photo: Al Ahly SC

Ivorian striker Souleymane Coulibaly expressed relief after leaving Al Ahly and explained the reasons behind his sudden departure.

The 22-year-old forward traveled to England without informing the club last week, before issuing a controversial statement alleging that he departed the Red Castle following ill treatment from his teammates, claiming he was “treated like a slave”.

In an interview with Football365.FR, Coulibaly spoke about the reasons that led to his departure after only five months with the club, citing a number of reasons that he previously mentioned in a post on his Twitter account.

Despite repeatedly celebrating his goals at Al Ahly with a series of acrobatic flips, Coulibaly insisted he was asked to “bow down and pray” every time he scored. He also added that some of his teammates weren’t welcoming and refused to co-operate with him.

“I am a practicing Muslim. I do not need to show the world that I am a Muslim. This obligation to prostrate did not satisfy me,” Coulibaly said.

“The way of life and the style of play on the field did not suit me either. Some teammates like Abdallah [El-Said] and Hossam Ghaly did not pass the ball to me intentionally.

He added that he was not allowed to do interviews during his stint at Al Ahly. “The club had forbidden me fearing that I would unveil certain things…I have never been given the opportunity to get an interview with the club’s chairman so that I can share my problems with him.”

Read: Al Ahly president refutes Souleymane Coulibaly allegations

Coulibaly also claimed the club withheld his passport, which was one of the things that bothered him, saying that once he got his passport, he immediately traveled to England.

He revealed that he no longer felt safe in Egypt, saying he’s currently in England with his family. The Ivorian striker also said that his family, who is Christian, felt uncomfortable practicing their religion in Egypt.

“My wife is Christian, she had a hard time practicing her religion in Egypt. She is currently pregnant and she hated this atmosphere.”

“My agents? They told me to return back to Cairo and apologise so that they could find a solution for my departure, but if I returned to Egypt they would kill me. My agents then abandoned me.”

Full Contact agency, representatives of Coulibaly, announced on Monday terminating their contract with the Ivorian player, saying they won’t be able to discuss the dispute between the player and Al Ahly due to “ongoing duties of client confidentiality”.

Read: Ekramy slams Coulibaly after mistreatment accusations

The player denied news reports that claimed he left the Red Castle after he received an English offer, saying that he has no club in sight.

“I am without a club, without an agent, and I live in the hotel now with my wife.”

Al Ahly have already lodged a complaint to FIFA against him in order to preserve the club’s rights, however, the player says he remains optimistic about the outcome, insisting that he’s saying the truth.

The former Tottenham striker also spoke about his relationship with the fans and his former teammates, saying that the Red Devils supporters used to treat me well when he was scoring for their club, but the situation is now different. “Now I regularly receive messages in which I’m called a liar. They insult my mother and my wife.”

On Monday, he claimed on Twitter that Tunisia’s Ali Maaloul and Nigeria’s Junior Ajayi also complained of mistreatment at Al Ahly, before he got into an argument with unofficial accounts of the two players, who denied his claims.

The 2011 GloCAF Most Promising Talent of the Year expressed his disappointment saying that both players used to share the same opinion about the “team’s dysfunctions”.

Read: Junior Ajayi denies facing problems at Al Ahly

The former Kilmarnock star who scored six goals in 12 games at Al Ahly, believes the Egyptian Premier League is not strong.

“With no disrespect to the country, the Egyptian Premier League is not of high level because a player cannot be on the sidelines for two months, before returning to score six goals and receive the Player of the Month award.”

Coulibaly, who joined the Cairo giants last January from Scottish side Kilmarnock for $800,000, advised African players who aspire to play in Egypt to perform tryouts in European clubs rather than looking for money in the Arab leagues.

“When you play in a North African country, you run up against club politics and team mentality,” Coulibaly concluded.

Ahmed is a social media team member and news reporter at KingFut. In addition, he's a football coach at Elite International Soccer academy. Previously wrote for Outside of the Boot and a Business Administration student at Misr International University.

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