Egypt keeper: Afcon ref threatened us

World News

Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal has claimed his team's coaching staff was "threatened" by a match referee ahead of an Africa Cup of Nations match. 

The North African giants stumbled at the last hurdle in their hopes of clinching a record eighth Afcon title, losing to eventual champions Senegal following a penalty shootout on Sunday. 

Pharaohs shot-stopper Gabal, who was one of the standout performers in the competition, produced a fine showing in the final as he saved Sadio Mane's seventh-minute penalty before going on to prevent another spot-kick in the decisive shootout, although the result was not what he would have hoped for.

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In the lead-up to the final, the Zamalek goalkeeper also inspired his country to penalty shootout wins over Ivory Coast and Cameroon in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively. 

With the tournament having concluded, the 33-year-old 'keeper has now claimed that Gambian referee Bakary Gassama was hostile towards his side ahead of their penultimate fixture against hosts Cameroon, a game in which Egypt boss Carlos Queiroz was sent to the stands after receiving two yellow cards from the match official. 

"Gassama came to the locker room before the game, he threatened us that any objections from the coaching staff will result in a red card," Gabal told MBC Masr. 

"Before the game, Gassama stopped Salah for over three minutes to confirm his identity. Do you need three minutes to confirm Mohamed Salah's identity?"

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Gabal's comments have been backed up by Pharaohs national team general manager Wael Gomaa. 

"Before the Cameroon game, the fourth official came to warn us that any coaching staff objection would result in a red card," Gomaa said, per KingFut. 

"After that, Gassama told me that his life depended on the game, and any protest would result in a red card. 

"I am not going to say the game was fixed or something like that, but we were feared as a team."

Ahead of that semi-final against Cameroon last week, the Egyptian Football Association complained to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) about the Gambian being given the tie to officiate.

They deemed him "untrustworthy" and reportedly sent CAF footage showing 12 major refereeing errors committed by Gassama in their game against Morocco.

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