Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – The England Wallball Federation announced on Friday that former world number one Mohamed El-Shorbagy won his first match since deciding to represent England instead of Egypt.
Al-Ittihad said through its Twitter account: “Congratulations to Muhammad Al-Shorbaji, who qualified for the final of the Mauritius Open Championship, after defeating the Egyptian Tariq Moamen.”
The announcement that El-Shorbagy will play for England caused a sensation in Egypt on Monday, bringing to the fore the issue of “naturalization of Egyptian players” that has been raised several times over the past years with the announcement of the transfer of allegiance of some Egyptians players to other countries.
And the England Wallball Federation published an interview with the 31-year-old player on Twitter at the time, during which he said: “I’m excited to represent England, I’ve lived in it for more than half my life. “
On the other hand, the Egyptian Squash Federation responded to El-Shorbagy’s announcement, in a statement reported by the Egyptian media, describing El-Shorbagy as “a hard-working and talented player from a sports family especially in squash interested.”
He added, “Mohamed received his education abroad and chose to live in England, particularly in Bristol, where he completed his education at secondary level and then university level, and during this period (since 2013) he summoned to represent Egypt in the men’s world championships, and he had several excuses in this regard.”
And he continued: “The player receives many financial contributions from the Egyptian Federation in accordance with the regulations and ministerial decisions issued by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in recent years, as well as the payment of the annual membership fees to the Professional Players Organization PSA , and the player was honored by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and received a First Class Sports Medal on January 1, 2018.
And the union statement said: “Because his younger brother Marwan Al-Shorbaji has always responded quickly to his presence with the national team and the national team has won championships, the last of which in France 2017 was first place, and at different periods the player asked for help from the federation, for example when he lost his passport in Hong Kong. Kong in December 2015”.
The federation said: “The player continued to live in England until he reached the age of atonement to obtain final exemption from military service because he did not perform military service after his graduation. She must play for England and there he was expected to England in any future event.”
The federation confirmed: “Egypt has many talented players, as evidenced by the presence of 6 Egyptian players among the top 10 players in the world in the international classification, and they are all professionals, and each professional player has his personal beliefs, as he depends for his income on his financial awards.”
Heliopolis Sports Club also announced in a statement that its board of directors decided, after the terms of the contract concluded between the club and the player, to “terminate the contract of player Mohamed El Shorbagy, while the federation be addressed to preserve the club is right.”
In an interview with BBC Arabic, Mohamed El-Shorbagy expressed his concern about how to compete against Egyptian players or participate in tournaments in Egypt, saying: “There is definitely some concern,” but he said that “the supporters did not harm me, but rather it was some individuals who treated me in an unfair way.” Well”.
He said: “The decision took me 3 or 4 months. My mind told me one thing, and my heart told me something else.” He added: “This decision will help me to spend my remaining years at a high level in the game.”
And he said: “For many years he thought of no one. The time must have come when I thought of myself. I was always very upset when I was at the Cairo airport every time I came to Egypt and found pride in the photos of Egyptian players at the airport, and I’m the only player who doesn’t have a photo of him.” “.
He added: “Imagine if I didn’t have an Egyptian sponsor during my sports career. I won 44 championships, the most Egyptian in history to win professional championships, and I topped the world rankings for 50 months remained for players, as the most Egyptian in history to sit on the throne of squash, and it never happened that an Egyptian sponsor came to me.” until today”.
He said: “But in England they believed in my ability to come back even when I had a bad season. They came in my worst season in almost my history, at a time when I wasn’t on top not, and many thought I was done.”
And he continued, “I feel upset when I say this, but this support that you were supposed to have from your country, and you didn’t get it, when you have a team behind you that you feel like they honestly appreciate and that they will give you the support you deserve, unfortunately I had to think about myself.”
And the Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports, Ashraf Sobhi, said in statements to the Egyptian channel “Sada El Balad” that the departure of Al-Shorbagy does not make him sad at all, and he expressed his welcome to Muhammad Al-. Shorbagy, “if he thought of returning to represent Egypt because it is his country.”