- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
- Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East
- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
A soccer humiliation spins into Egypt’s politics
CAIRO (AP) - A hammering 6-1 loss to Ghana was more than just a blow to Egypt’s faltering hopes for a spot in next year’s World Cup finals. The humiliation immediately became entangled in Egypt’s bitterly divisive politics.
Politics even intruded during Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifier match, held in the Ghanaian town of Kumasi. Some Ghana fans in the stands held up a four-finger gesture symbolizing support for Morsi and the Islamists _ apparently to taunt the Egyptian fans, some of whom replied with angry thumbs-down gestures.
Another blamed military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who removed Morsi. “You jinxed us, el-Sissi,” Mohammed Dardeer wrote on Facebook, calling the general “religiously defiled.”
Egypt has been profoundly polarized by the July 3 coup. Since the ouster of Morsi _ the country’s first freely elected president _ the new military-backed government has waged a fierce crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist allies.
Supporters of the military say Morsi and the Islamists tried to take over Egypt and represent a violent, radical force. Morsi supporters, in turn, accuse the military of wrecking a fledgling democracy and leading the country back into autocracy.
“It cannot be a coincidence,” Alaa Sadeq, a career sports commentator turned Morsi supporter, wrote on his Twitter account after the loss. “Can success be on the side of a nation being run by a coup?”
The pro-Morsi camp was quick to note that the Pharaohs’ lone goal was scored by the team’s star, Mohammed Aboutrika, who openly sympathizes with the Brotherhood.
Egypt’s soccer addicts have been buzzing for months that Aboutrika’s political persuasion may be causing divisions in the locker room. In one incident, he got into an acrimonious political argument with an army officer assigned to escort the team to its hotel when it returned home from a foreign trip after nighttime curfew.
Brotherhood opponents accused pro-Morsi fans of rooting against their own team. That too had a political overtone: Many accuse the Brotherhood of being more loyal to its international Islamist agenda than its own nation.
Brotherhood “people hope that Egypt loses,” tweeted Mahmoud Salem, a prominent blogger known as “Sandmonkey.”
Heading into the match, the government had given a pro-military spin to the team.
The sports minister said the Pharaohs were taking to Ghana “the spirit of October,” referring to the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war that is touted in Egypt as a victory for its military. The minister also accompanied the team to Kumasi.
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.