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Blacklisted Egyptian football star Aboutrika responds to fans demanding he return for World Cup Open in fullscreen

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Blacklisted Egyptian football star Aboutrika responds to fans demanding he return for World Cup

Fearing arrest, Mohamed Aboutrika did not return to Cairo for his father's funeral [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 October, 2017

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A blacklisted Egyptian football star has responded to demands from fans that he makes a comeback after the Pharaohs qualified for the World Cup.

A blacklisted Egyptian football star has responded to demands from fans that he makes a comeback after the Pharaohs qualified for the World Cup for the first time in almost 30 years.

Former national team star Mohammed Aboutrika, who has been put on a government "terror list", took to Twitter on Tuesday to reply to supporters calling on him to play in the 2018 World Cup.

Egypt erupted in celebration on Sunday evening after its football team - arguably Africa's most successful - qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1990, with a 2-1 win against Congo.

Following the game, fans flooded social media demanding that the now-retired Aboutrika, 38, return to the pitch for the tournament in Russia.

"I thank you all for the great feeling but the reality is even better, we do not take away from the efforts of others. These are men who deserve to stand alone in this event," the embattled footballer responded on Twitter.

In January, an Egyptian court added Aboutrika to the authorities' "terror list" based on suspicions he helped finance the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement. Authorities had previously frozen his assets.

 
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Aboutrika, one of the most successful African footballers of his generation, had publicly endorsed the presidential bid of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi in 2012.

Morsi went on to become Egypt's first democratically elected president, only for the army to oust him one year later and launch a crackdown on Brotherhood supporters.

The retired striker, who currently works as a sports pundit in Qatar, did not return to Cairo to attend the funeral of his father in Feburary out of fear of arrest.

Aboutrika played for the national team between 2001 and 2013, winning the African Cup of Nations twice and scoring 38 goals - but never qualifying for the World Cup.

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