Mido, the Tottenham Hotspur striker, was yesterday thrown out of the Egyptian squad and banned from playing for his country for six months after an astonishing row with the national coach.
The 22-year-old was booed by the 74,000-strong home crowd at the Cairo International Stadium - some of whom chanted "Mido out" - after he reacted furiously to being substituted by Hassan Shehata during the African Nations' Cup semi-final against Senegal on Tuesday and had to be restrained. It did not help Mido's cause that his replacement, Amr Zaki, scored the winning goal with his first touch.
Mido will now miss tomorrow's final against Ivory Coast but more damaging is the long-term effect the ban will have on his career, although it has emerged that he did try to apologise later and yesterday his team-mates said they believed the punishment was too severe. "My own feeling is that the decision was out of proportion," said the striker Hossam Hassan, one of the most revered figures in Egyptian football. "We needed Mido for this game." He added: "The FA people made the problem bigger. Mido is not the only one to lose out - it's the whole team, the fans and the Egyptian football federation. People might think I'm wrong but I've seen that happen with other big players who got upset."
However, Sameer Zaher, the head of the Egyptian FA, confirmed that Mido had been expelled. "Mido has been suspended from representing the national team for six months, effective immediately," he said. The organisation held an emergency meeting immediately after the match while one newspaper headline yesterday ran "Mido loses the respect of the nation".
The irony is that Mido, a hero in Egypt and the most famous player to emerge from the Arab world, had pleaded with Spurs to allow him to play in the tournament in the first place and has turned out despite suffering a groin strain. The Premiership club were waiting for news yesterday as to when he will arrive back in London although, if he is fit, there is no reason why he cannot be available for Sunday's away match against Sunderland.
His return is timely. Spurs yesterday agreed a deal for Grzegorz Rasiak to join Southampton on loan for the rest of the season with a view to a permanent £2m transfer in the summer which means they will recoup the fee they paid for him. The Polish international has failed to impress and will rejoin George Burley, for whom he played at Derby County. "He is happy with the move as it is his goal to be playing regularly with the World Cup in mind," said Rasiak's agent, Giorgio De Giorgis.
Mido's own future at Spurs is still to be resolved. His 18-month loan deal from Roma comes to an end in the summer and Spurs have yet to decide on a permanent transfer. Their head coach, Martin Jol, is an admirer, but the club also have other targets - not least Dirk Kuyt, who they will attempt to sign again from Feyenoord. If he arrives, Mido's future would be in some doubt.
Nevertheless the Egyptian has largely impressed since he arrived in the Premiership and there have been few signs of the bad-boy image that has troubled his career. Indeed, it is not even the first time he has been banned from the Egyptian team. Prior to joining Spurs he had a fall-out with the former coach Marco Tardelli after he cried off from a key World Cup qualifier with an injury - only to turn out for Roma the day before. Cairo's media branded him a traitor and Mido - who disputes Tardelli's version of events - was given an "indefinite" ban.
Mido Scissorhands: A film noir
Banned by Ajax after series of rows with coach. Then sold to Celta Vigo but not before throwing a pair of scissors at fellow striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Banned "indefinitely" by Egypt after claiming he was injured only to appear for Roma in a friendly 24 hours before key World Cup qualifier.
Joins Tottenham on loan from Roma, who claim that signing him was a mistake. After public apology in Cairo is recalled by Egypt.Reuse content