Egyptian national coach Hassan Shehata's team under fire
A former political prisoner who was jailed for 12 years by the government of former President Hosni Mubarak has accused Egyptian national team goalkeeper coach Ahmed Soliman of assaulting and beating him in prison.
Magdi Zaki, who was detained for 17 years, said the incident happened when Soliman, widely believed to be an officer of the hated Egyptian police force, intervened in an altercation between Zaki and a police informer.
In a video posted on YouTube, Zaki points to scars from stitches on his face and head, which he says were the result of Soliman’s beatings.
Soliman has yet to comment on the allegation.
Soliman is reportedly also under investigation for corruption alongside other senior Egyptian soccer executives.
Links between the Mubarak regime and the country’s soccer management go far beyond Soliman.
Egyptian national team coach Hassan Shehata is under fire for having supported Mubarak while many of the team’s fans were on Cairo’s Tahrir Square demanding the president’s resignation.
Mass protests forced Mubarak to step down on February 11 after 30 years in office.
For much of his time in prison, Zaki was held by the dreaded State Security Investigations (SSI), whose offices were raided by soccer fans and others earlier this month.
Many Egyptians are demanding the dissolution of the SSI.
"I spent 12 years in the political section of Liman Abu Zaabal prison, without charge, without visits. When I saw my two kids I did not recognise them and they did not recognise me. But worst of all was the month I spent in the state security building," Egyptian media quoted Zaki as saying.
James M. Dorsey is a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog