The recent high tension between Egypt and Algeria has taken another ugly dimension after Egypt international striker, Amr Zaki, declared he will not be interested in joining English Premier League club Portsmouth because that would mean he will play alongside Algerian defender Nadir Belhadj.
UAE businessman Sulaiman Al-Fahim, who has stake at Portsmouth, disclosed that the former Wigan Athletic striker has been in regular touch with him in respect of a transfer to Fratton Park in the winter.
However, Zaki said on his personal website that a switch from Zamalek to Pompey is no longer an option because they have an Algerian player as well as Isrealis, who many Arab Muslims are against, on their books.
"I refused their offer before, but now joining Portsmouth is no longer an option for me," Zaki said.
"After Portsmouth signed an Israeli player and also hired an Israeli football director (Avram Grant), a possible move was ruled out.
"On top of that, no way could I play at Portsmouth with an Algerian within in their ranks."
The relationship between Egypt and Algeria has soured since the hostilities that followed the Pharaohs' 1-0 loss to the Desert Foxes in Wednesday's World Cup play-off.
Fans of both countries were engaged in bloody fights in Sudan as well as in their respective countries after Algeria qualified for next year's World Cup at the expense of their regional rivals.
Top government officials including Egypt President Hosni Mubarak have also joined in this row.
Samm Audu, Goal.com