Isnin, Februari 13, 2006

Berita Luar Negara

Egypt Footballers Sport Prophet T-Shirt in ACN Finale

Striker Abu Trika wearing the prophet T-shirt during the warm-up.

By Ahmed Fathy, IOL Correspondent

CAIRO, February 11, 2006 ( – Egyptian footballers, who won the prestigious African Cup of Nations title on Friday, February 10, after a die-hard battle against Cote d'Ivoire, sported T-shirts with the phrase "We Are Ready to Sacrifice Ourselves for Our Prophet Muhammad" printed on them.

Before warming-up for the decisive match, the players lined up to greet a crowd of about 80,000 at the Cairo Stadium and were all dressed in the "Prophet" T-shirts.

They were unable to wear the T-shirts in the finale because of the FIFA guidelines, which ban teams to have any kind of slogans on their T-shirts during official matches.

Twelve cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), first published last September by Denmark's mass-circulation Jyllands-Posten and then reprinted by several European dailies, have caused an uproar in the Muslim world.

The drawings included portrayals of the Prophet wearing a time-bomb shaped turban and showed him as a knife-wielding nomad flanked by shrouded women.

"We Love You Prophet"

Pro-Prophet placards were raised by fervent Egyptian fans during the games. (Reuters)

Placards reading "We love you Prophet," "Stop Insulting Our Prophet Muhammad," and "Boycott Danish Products" were raised by fervent fans during the match and other previous games, especially those of host Egypt.

Mohammed Hosni, supervisor of ACN Web site, urged the fans to shout "Allah's Prophet…Peace and Blessings be upon him" immediately after the national anthems of both teams and before the referee whistled the go-ahead.

The initiative to praise Prophet Muhammad was publicized via mobile messages and appeared on billboards in front of the Cairo Stadium's gates.

Egypt won the much-coveted cup after defeating Cote d'Ivoire 4-2 on penalties with President Hosni Mubarak, his wife and two sons watching.

The victory set off nationwide celebrations.

Egyptian newspapers Saturday heaped praise on Issam el-Hadary, the goalkeeper who gave his team a record fifth title by saving two penalties in a dramatic shootout.

"Hadary was confirmed as a superstar during the African Nations Cup. He entered the club of great goalkeepers, another product of the Red Devils," the state-owned Al-Gomhurriya daily said in reference to the country's league champion.

Egypt's victory was unimaginable when the tournament kicked off last month, but Egypt came out of the qualifying stages on top of its Group A after defeating Cote d'Ivoire 3-1.

The Pharaohs then beat the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal in the quarters and semis before securing a record fifth trophy.

Egypt coach Hassan Shehata said they owed their victory to the total support by the 80,000-strong crowd even at a point when it looked like this was not going to be their day.


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