striker goes awol

Bruce hoping to bring an end to Zaki farce

April 9, 2009

The future of errant Wigan striker Amr Zaki will be decided within the next 24 hours.

Latics boss Steve Bruce is finally set to meet the player and his advisors on Friday in the belief the 26-year-old is now back in England.

Zaki was due to return from international duty with Egypt at the start of last week but when he failed to show, Bruce pulled no punches in his condemnation of his actions.

As it was the fifth time this season Zaki returned late from being away with his country, Bruce slammed his unprofessionalism, claiming his attitude showed disrespect towards the club who pay his wages and his team-mates.

In a face-to-face meeting, Bruce will personally get to air his grievances to Zaki, who it is claimed sustained a hamstring injury with Egypt.

During the course of the discussion - if Bruce has not already made up his mind - it is virtually certain a decision will be taken on whether the club opt to take up a permanent deal on his current season-long loan from El Zamalek.

"I find it very difficult to contemplate where his future is at the moment, bearing in mind how I feel on the situation,'' said a bitterly disappointed Bruce.

"This is not the first time, it's probably the fifth time and that cannot be the case. We will be speaking with him and his advisors in the next 24 hours to see exactly what the situation is, and I hope to resolve it as we do believe he has arrived back in the country.

"It's fair to say his advisors are also at the end of their tether and they've been very respectful. Whether he has a problem at home, or he is missing home, then we will have to wait and see what his view of the situation is.

"But my job is to manage the team, the club, and if everybody took his stance then we would be in a sorry mess. To not show up and show a lack of respect is unacceptable and as I've said, it's not the first time. It has been a recurring thing.''

Bruce concedes he has been "staggered'' by the problem surrounding Zaki, adding: "In my opinion it's totally shocking. But if you have an employee who does what he wants to do, then of course you're going to be upset and disappointed.

"For me, it's been a ridiculous challenge, particularly when you consider it wasn't so long ago he was everybody's cup of tea and playing well.

"But you can't up and do what you want, especially when you've 23 other people (the players) looking and watching the situation and maybe thinking 'If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for any of us'.''