Egyptian Premier League club Wadi Degla terminated the contract of footballer Ahmed al-Merghany after he posted a status on Facebook calling President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a “failure.”
Following the deadly attacks in Sinai this week, Merghany accused Sisi of failing to provide stability and security for the country. He wrote a public status to his over 24,000 followers, calling the president a “failure” and naming him responsible for “every drop of blood” spilled in Egypt. Merghany stated that, “You asked people for a mandate to fight terrorism and people flooded the streets [in response], even though this is supposed to be your job without a mandate.”
“Since then everyone has been dying: civilians, army, police and where are you amid all this? All we get from you is talk,” he wrote.
Following his initial post, Merghany wrote two more posts, explaining that he had been advised to delete his comments, but he refused to do so. More recently, in an interview on Dream TV, Merghany said that since he posted the message, many have been reluctant to even speak to him on the phone.
In the same interview, Mortada Mansour, the president of the Zamalek Club, called in and chastised Merghany for his comments, saying angrily, “Who is this boy? He is disrespectful! Who is he?” Mansour ran for president in 2014 before declaring his support for Sisi, he is also known for his altercations with the hardcore football fan group the Ultras White Knights, who he accused of attempting to assassinate him in 2014.
The incident comes shortly after the insurgency group, Province of Sinai, launched their largest attack to date on Sheikh Zuwayed, resulting in the deaths of between 30 and 70 people. Merghany’s comments reflect the pressure on the president, after over a year in office, to do more to address security issues. Much of the president’s support has been based on hopes that he could bring stability to Egypt.
Merghany referenced the servicemen killed in Sinai directly in his status, comparing their deaths to the assassination of Prosecutor General Hesham Barakat, who was also killed this week by a car-bomb in Heliopolis. Merghany wrote, “are you going to announce a state of mourning over the men in Sinai and cancel the TV shows or are they [the soldiers killed in Sinai] not like the general prosecutor?”
Meanwhile, fans of the club will be disappointed to lose Merghany at this point in the season. Wadi Degla currently stands at eighth in the league, and the ex-Zamalek player was considered a key part of the team.