CAIRO: Zamalek SC ended Monday the contract with midfielder player Omar Gaber, due to his rejection to play in a Sunday football match between Zamalek and Enpi due to reports of fans killed.
At least 22 Zamalek fans, the Ultras White Knights (UWK,) were killed and 25 other injured when security forces fired tear gas bombs at a crowd of fans, causing a stampede; the Ministry of Interior said Sunday that hundreds had attempted to forcibly access the stadium without tickets.
Zamalek fans who managed to get tickets and entered the Air Force Stadium where the game was held called for the end of the match over the killing of fans outside the stadium, Gaber decided to withdraw, rejecting club president Mortada Mansour’s request to resume the game.
The Zamalek Sporting Club (SC) administration cancelled the three-year contract renewal with Gaber over his announcement of support to the White Knights fans, Youm7 reported.
Before signing up the renewal contract, Gabar had received offers to play in France and Germany; however after negotiations, he decided to stay in the Zamalek SC.
“I’m ready to give up football and beg and not play while my brothers are being killed outside the stadium,” the 23-year-old player told Aswat Masryia Monday.
Gaber announced he would not play after having warmed up, and defender Hazem Imam replaced him. However, some of Zamalek players defended their situation saying they had no idea about death cases outside the stadium. However, the two teams had a draw at 1-1 and the game was not cancelled.
Gaber was born in 1992 in Cairo; his father Mahmoud Gaber played for Ismaily SC. Gaber is now one of the Egyptian national team; he played an international game between Egypt and Brazil in the U-20 World Cub 2011, according to the FIFA website.
In August 2014, Mansour threatened to withdraw Gaber’s name from the Egyptian Football Federation over his relations with the UWK, which was described by Manour a “terrorist group.”
Sunday’s game was delayed for 45 minutes due to the clashes that erupted between the UWK fans and security forces; hundreds had gathered outside the stadium trying to get into it, reportedly without having tickets for the match.
The Egyptian Football Federation said it had given the club 10,000 tickets and the number of the UWK fans who attended is less than this figure, so it could be possible that the club withheld some of tickers, Youm7 reported.
Additional reporting by Ahmed Tawfiq