Egyptian stars announce retirement after fatal clashes

Mohamed Aboutrika (R)
Aboutrika says he is retiring from all football after the violence

Three high-profile Egyptian players have retired after witnessing the violent clashes that killed 74 people in Port Said on Wednesday.

Al-Ahly midfielders Mohamed Barakat, Mohamed Aboutrika and striker Emad Motaeb told Egyptian TV of their decision following the violence.

Barakat did not rule out a comeback but refused to play again until there is "retribution for the people that died".

The trio helped win three consecutive African crowns for Egypt's Pharaohs.

Aboutrika and Barakat started the game against al-Masry, while Motaeb was used as a substitute, before the deadly riots erupted at the end of the game.

Many fans died from suffocation after becoming trapped in a narrow corridor as they fled the violence, according to reports.

Motaeb had just returend to action, after weeks out with a back injury and Barakat was also making a return to the side, after missing four league games with a calf injury.

But after witnessing the violence - which has since prompted the Egyptian government to declare three days of national mourning - the players announced they could no longer continue to compete for the country's most successful club.

"People here are dying and no one is doing a thing. It's like a war,'' Aboutrika told the team's television station Al-Ahly TV.

"Is life this cheap?''

Aboutrika is a former winner of the BBC African Footballer of the Year award and - along with Barakat and Motaeb - has been central to the success of his club and country in African football over the past few years.

Al-Ahly have won a record 36 Egyptian league titles, along with a record six African Champions League trophies.

Egypt - who failed to qualify for this year's Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon - won the last three editions of the competition, and have won it a record seven times.

Al Ahly's Portuguese coach Manuel Jose, has meanwhile, returned to his native Portugal and asked the Cairo club to cancel his contract.