Ghana striker Junior Agogo has exclusively spoken for the first time since announcing his exit from Egyptian giants Zamalek and his decision to report the club to Fifa after a frustrating eight-month spell.
The 29-year-old also revealed to the South-Africa based portal Football365 about his international future and how the Ghana FA’s intervention in his matter did not help his plight.
F365: Why did you decided to leave Zamalek after just eight months at the club?
JA: ‘Thank you. I lived in Cairo for months having the dream of helping Zamalek to regain its past glory by working hard to help this club.
‘Things started very well but in my few months there unbelievable changes happened from the management to the coaching structure.
‘This did not help the development of the club and with the frustrations boiling over some management members decided to blame it all on me when I had nothing to do with it.
‘For the past five months I was not paid, I was fined US$200,000 for no crime and all these were not even written down in a letter to me. I stayed on because I thought things might improve but it didn’t.
‘The injustice being meted out against me grew by the day and therefore I decided to report the issue to FIFA to seek redress. Under the current climate if I stayed here whilst taking action against the club my life could be at risk so I decided to leave and to press charges against the club at FIFA.’
F365: Why didn’t you use the internal Egyptian channels to resolve the issue?
JA: ‘I tried all avenues to resolve this issue internally but all my concerns were not respected. I used the Egyptian FA to solve the issue and they came back to me to say that all the files I presented to them to complain about the treatment being meted out were missing.
‘I asked the Ghana FA to also help and all their concerns were also not heeded to so I decided to go to FIFA to have my case heard. The club used the Egyptian press to paint me black and because i don’t read Arabic I could not respond and they got away with it. The only avenue left for me was to approach FIFA and they [Zamalek] will have the opportunity answer to all the charges I have made against them.’
F365: Zamalek officials claim you were indisciplined?
JA: ‘This is just one example of the many lies told about me to the Egyptian press. I attended all training sessions and matches on time and according to the club rules. It was only when they decided to deduct my wages without an explanation that I went on a boycott and even that I changed when my lawyers told me that it was not the right move. I have never been indisciplined – from all the clubs I have played from England to America and the Ghana national team. Then why would they say that? Because they have an agenda to destroy my good name and the only way for me to set the record straight is by going to FIFA.’
F365: Ghanaian football circles say Zamalek frustrated you because the current board couldn’t pay your salaries.
JA: ‘This is just one of the views of people. The president who signed me Mr Mamdouh Abbas had no problems paying my salaries but since the new board took over all the talk was about how much I was earning. What I signed was not with Mr Abass – it was with Zamalek Football Club and whether he is there or not my wages should be paid. If that is the reason why they frustrated me then they are badly wrong and should be prepared to answer to FIFA.’
F365: Did their actions cost you your place in the Ghana national team?
JA: ‘Of course it did. If I was playing regularly without any problems and scoring goals I wouldn’t have been left out of the Ghana v Benin World Cup qualifier. All these problems led to the decision to leave me out. Now I have to get back to the team and that’s what I am determined to do.’
F365: What would you do to gain your place back in the Black Stars?
JA: ‘I have already started training on my own here in London and hopefully very soon one of my former clubs will give me the opportunity of training with them.’
F365: Do you think it was mistake to join Zamalek when you had some European clubs chasing you?
JA:’I don’t think it was a mistake to join the club. Zamalek is one of the biggest clubs in Africa and the world. I went there with big aspirations of helping them win some of the continental trophies they won in the past. Just that the club officials were not honest and the things turned out the way they have. I have no regrets but as in life we learnt from our experiences.’
F365:Where do you want to play next or which clubs have approached you?
JA:I have had a few talks with clubs in England, Germany, France and Turkey so let’s see how my report to FIFA goes and then i can make a decision on the team I want to play next.’