It’s not often that the name of a prominent football player is linked to crime, let alone appearing on a terror list. Former BBC African Player of the Year and ex-Egyptian Football star Mohamed Aboutrika has been added to a terror list for his alleged links with the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
Aboutrika is accused of financially supporting the Brotherhood, which Egypt considers a terrorist organization.
In 2012, he endorsed the successful presidential bid by Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood member. The move by the 2008 BBC African Footballer of the Year alienated some of his fans.
Any person named on the country’s terror list is subject to a travel ban and faces having their passport and assets frozen.
Aboutrika’s lawyer, Mohamed Osman, said the move was “contrary to the law”, adding that his client had “not been convicted or formally notified of any of the charges against him”.
“We will appeal this decision,” Mr Osman said. Aboutrika has strenuously denied the allegations.
A former star of Cairo’s Al-Ahly club and the national team, Aboutrika was dubbed The Prince of Hearts during his active playing days. He was also seen in many quarters as more than just a footballer but a sportsman with strong ideological leanings.
Renowned Italian sports journalist Gabby Marcotti once said:
“He is possibly the greatest footballer in the history of the world with a bachelor’s diploma in philosophy hanging on the wall of his sitting room. He is arguably the best footballer on Earth not playing his trade in Europe or South America. and Does staying in Egypt make him gutless and unambitious because he won’t measure himself against the world’s best on a regular basis? Or, in fact, should he be admired for remaining loyal to his homeland, simply being happy with what he has achieved and not feeling the need to chase the glamour and millions of the Premier League or La Liga?”.