Rabia Dominates Egypt Sports

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Rabia Dominates Egypt Sports Fields1
Abdel-Zaher's goal gave Al-Ahly a 2-0 victory over Orlando Pirates of South Africa and a record eighth African title.

CAIRO – Egyptian players flashing a Rabia sign after each victory has become a regular scene in sports fields, the latest of which is when a player flashed the famous salute after scoring for his side Al-Ahly in the second leg of the African Champions League final in Cairo.

“I was expressing my support to victims of Rabia deadly crackdown,” Ahmed Abdel-Zaher reportedly said in comments quoted by Al-Masy Al-Youm newspaper on Sunday, November 10.

The salute came in the 77th minute of the final when striker Ahmed Abdel-Zaher flashed the iconic sign that commemorates hundreds of protesters killed during the security forces dispersal of a sit-in staged by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo's Rabia al-Adawiya Square.

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Abdel-Zaher's goal gave Al-Ahly a 2-0 victory over Orlando Pirates of South Africa and a record eighth African title.

His goal followed an earlier one by the legendary Mohamed Aboutrika who opened the scoring in the 54th minute.

'The Red Devils' of Cairo will represent Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco next month.

However, Taher Abou-Zeid, Egypt's Sports Minister in the army imposed government, rejected the salute as unpatriotic.

"Ahly's Champions League triumph is bigger than [Ahmed] Abdel-Zaher's sign. This does not matter, what matters is that Ahly won the title," Abou-Zeid said in a television interview cited by Al-Ahram newspaper.

"Ahly is a patriotic club that was always at the heart of any revolution."

Recurrent Scene

Abdel-Zaher's Rabia sign is not the first in Egyptian and international sports fields.

Last month, the Egyptian kung fu federation barred Mohamed Youssef from contesting the 12th World Wushu Championships in Malaysia for flashing the Rabia sign when receiving the gold medal in an international championship played in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.

Youssef also wore a yellow T-shirt emblazoned with the iconic sign.

Days later another kung fu player, Hisham Abdel-Hamid, flashed the Rabia sign during a training session of the Egyptian team in the Malaysia-hosted championship.

But the federation said it would not take any punitive action against Abdel-Hamid on the ground that he did not make the gesture during an official game or on the winners' podium.

The Rabia sign was even becoming a ghost for the Egyptian officials who blamed Ghana fans, who carried Rabia signs in the stadium, of being responsible for Egypt’s humiliating 6-1 defeat in the World Cup qualifications first-leg in Kumasi last October.

Related Links:
World Muslims Condemn Egypt’s ‘Massacre’
Egypt’s Crackdown Sparks World Outrage
Charred Bodies Await Burial In Cairo Mosque
Egypt’s Crackdown Sparks World Outrage
World Condemns Egypt Bloodshed

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