Wednesday, July 3, 2019

WardaGate : Or How Mo Salah let many Egyptian women down

As he was featured as one of the Time Magazine’s Most Influential People in 2019, Mohamed Salah said in his interview to the Time that “Men need to change the way how they treat women in the Middle East”.

Amr Warda and Mohamed Salah
Salah and Warda earlier "Tass"
“I support the woman more than I did before, because I feel like she deserves more than what they give her now, at the moment.” The 26-years-old world-famous player told the Time.
In that short interview, Salah admitted that “There is a little bit of pressure” on him for “being a role model”.

It is not a “little bit of pressure” but a “whole lot of pressure” actually.

Salah is not just a popular Egyptian footballer who plays in England’s Premier league, Salah is two steps away from becoming the new Egyptian idol in his time with scary popularity. 

He reads a book called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***” and the book is still best selling in Egypt with its versions, the English and the Arabic
He wears a “Never Give up” T-shirt in a Liverpool football match and up till now the T-shirt is another best selling T-shirt in Egypt’s local markets.
He becomes the face of a public anti-drug campaign and the hotlines of the campaign were full of calls from people asking for help to get rid of addiction within days of launching the ad.
That’s why his role in the infamous and current WardaGate is something big and many people including yours truly are angry and disappointed about how he dealt with the matter.


Two weeks ago, Egypt’s National Team winger Amr Warda was announced to be excluded from the team’s camp hours before the game against DR Congo in the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
According to the official of the Egyptian FA, the 25-year-old was excluded for disciplinary reasons without any official further details.

"EFA president Hany Abo Rida decided to exclude Warda from the camp after discussion with the team's technical and managerial staff and the decision was made to keep ensure discipline and concentration in the team" the statement read.

Greece’s PAOK winger, who played as a second-half substitute in the opener, came under fire hours after the Zimbabwe win over accusations of inappropriate behavior on social media.
Four women accused Warda of online sexual harassment over that week.
In statements to local Egyptian media, Warda said that he was innocent of those charges and that those allegations were fabricated and intended to destroy his career.
The thing is that it was not the first time those accusations.

Warda’s troubles started at an early time.

He was expelled from Egypt's U20 football team's training camp in Tunisia in 2013 before the start of the 2013 African U-20 Championship in Algeria in March of that year.
He was expelled also for disciplinary reasons related to sexual harassment problems.
The team’s Coach then Rabieh Yassin refused and is still refusing to speak about the incident or the player especially in the shadow of the recent events.

Similar accusations followed him in Portugal when he signed with a club and stayed there for one week.

So how did his co-players in the National team react?

During the game with Congo on 26 June 2019, footballer Ahmed El-Mohamedy made a-22-sign using his hands as he was celebrating his first goal in the game.
Ahmed El-Mohamedy
Ahmed El-Mohamedy, the captain of the team doing the 22 sign to
support "a member of the family" as he later said. 
Baher El-Mohamedy celebrated the goal by raising Warda’s 22 Jersey.
The message was clear, some of Warda’s co-footballers were angry that he was excluded.
It was a bad message.
It was just the start.
At 1:53 AM, we found Mohamed Salah tweeting the following on his official Twitter account

Seriously speaking !!! Shunning is not the answer !!
No one wants to send Amr Warda to the guillotine, I feel this young man needs real help to save him before anyone else.
Needless to say, that word “Guillotine” made many people including myself suspect that Mohamed Salah was not the one who wrote it in English.
The fingers are pointing to his agent and lawyer Columbian Ramy Abbas Issa who is actually Pro-Trump and anti-political correctness according to his Twitter profile’s Biography.
He got very interesting views about women’s rights already.

On 28 June 2019, we found this news on the official Facebook page of the EFA and Twitter account.

According to the news, Minister of Sports Ashraf Sobhy held an informal meeting with the footballers 27 June night where he told them to do their best to please millions of Egyptians..bla bla bla then next paragraph :

“ Head of EFA Hany Abo Rida praised the spirit of solidarity between the footballers and their wish that their colleague Amr Warda would be pardoned and to be unexpended while they are committed to the decisions of the EFA.
Abu Rida decided to reduce the suspension of Amr Warda so he would be suspended till the end of the first round.”

In other words, Amr Warda got a suspension for 48 hours only.
It did not stop here.
Afternoon on the same day at about 1:36 PM, the EFA published a detailed report that “friendly meeting” between the minister, Abu Rida and the players.
There was another tweet that was deleted later on that day but thanks God for the Internet and online archives.

Top Egyptian football news website Filgoal that got a copy of that tweet and the full story in a news report published at 4:03 PM.
The news headline says “ Salah and El-Mohamedy defend Warda { He is a victim of an evil plot} !!
The story is based on a statement published by the EFA social media accounts before deleting it.

 There we got to know what the players allegedly told Abu Rida and the minister in their meeting.
Mohamed Salah believes that Warda made mistake indeed and deserves punishment but his future as a footballer must be taken in consideration after the emerge of those leaks that can end his football career, he should continue to play in the national team and only suspend from play in the first round.”

This is what the statement said before it was pulled back.
That statement was published in almost all news websites in Egypt.
At 5:52 PM, the EFA published that announcement on its official social media accounts.

“Disclaimer: The EFA asserts that the players of Egypt’s National team did not release any media statements and what was published on behalf some of them on the official website of the EFA was published by mistake”

Someone was angry that what he said in the closed informal meeting was shared publicly but for the record those statements are real

And the shit hit the storm and for the first time we find hashtags attacking Mohamed Salah and the Egyptian National team who is being labeled “The harassers Team".

Even some called the public to boycott the Pharaohs’ games in the tournament. There was a lot of debate online about Egypt Vs. Uganda match.
Personally, I did not watch the game and watched the “Ancient Aliens” episode instead despite probably you know how I feel about that show.

Egypt won by two goals including one by Mo Salah.

What was said in the game is the photo showing fans supporting Amr Warda including a young teenager who held a photo featuring him and Salah.
I hope Salah is happy for real "King Tut"
I hope Salah is happy.

I totally understand that any suspect is innocent till proven guilty but Amr Warda did not even get a slap on the wrist and it is not a mistake nor it is his first.

From what I understood there have been no thorough true investigations into those allegations by the EFA for real !!

Warda isn't the first player to be expelled for disciplinary reasons in major tournaments in recent times.

I am from the generation that still remembers how legendary coach Mahmoud El-Gohary kicked infamous Ibrahim Saeed because he was found him with some girl at the hotel where the national team hours before the Africa Cup of Nations in Mali would kick off in 2002.
Ibrahim Saeed was a better footballer that Warda 100 times.
No one dared to speak with El-Gohary or object his decision.

Yet it seems that we got a weak coach for real this time.

Back to Salah.

The real danger in what happened in Warda’s case that women will be hesitant to report sexual harassments if the man is a celebrity or a footballer.

Suspending Warda won’t end his football career, his behavior will end if he continues this way or this is what I am trying to convince myself with.

I must remind you that Cristiano Ronaldo is accused of rape and yet he is still the Ronaldo who is worshipped all over the world.

Karim Benzema is excluded from France’s National team despite his talent because of a mad blackmail plan he was involved in.

It seems to me that footballers got a pass for their behavior and that should be changed.

In a country, sexual harassment runs as an epidemic women can’t afford to see officials like in EFA and footballers like Salah to deal with the matter as something trivial.

To be precise they can't afford to see Salah act like this, EFA’s board got reportedly corruption and sexual harassments running among its members.

Again return back to the introduction I wrote about Salah and how he is regarded in Egypt. 

Mo is not another story of an Egyptian who made it abroad against all odds.

Hell, we got more Egyptians who made it abroad in ways many can argue that it is more important than Salah like starting with Dr. Farouk El-Baz , Dame Nemat Shafik , Dr. Ahmed Zewail and late Dr.Adel Mahmoud whom we only knew about his great role in fighting infectious diseases after his death, unfortunately.

Unlike those great masters in their sciences and specialists who have truly made incredible changes in the world, Mo is popular beyond them and it is not only because he is a successful and talented footballer and people worship football than science and economy.

Many young Egyptians found themselves in Salah, they found themselves in the success story of that Egyptian working class villager who became a star abroad.

If he wants truly to change how women are treated than he must start with the Egyptian National Team and the EFA.

Mohamed Salah should have known better.

A side note : Media covers WardaGate

Interestingly, I noticed several news websites began to publish a report about Amr Warda in the past three days with a single theme to the level that makes you wonder: What is going on? We are not speaking about the political issues here, we are speaking about a footballer.

“Amr Warda’s other face: He believes Holy Quran is the reason behind his success, goes to Omara every year and he has a strange love story” was published in both Al-Dostor Newspaper on that Tuesday and on that Wednesday Sada El-Balad News website

This journalism telepathy cannot be happening here too.

It can be simple plagiarism too but in very interesting timing.

1 comment:

  1. Any posts on Egypt treasures being auctioned off rather than being returned to Egypt:


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