After refusing to take part in the league-wide anti-homophobia campaign last weekend, Toulouse striker Zakaria Aboukhlal finds himself embroiled in another row over an alleged sexist remark he allegedly made to a chosen one during the team’s Coupe de France victory celebrations last month. .
His national team manager Walid Regragui expressed his “surprise” at the allegations. “If there’s a player you don’t imagine in these kinds of stories, it’s Zak’. He is a respectful boy, with real values and a good education given to him by open-minded parents, whom we had the chance to meet during the World Cup in Qatar.
Regragui adds that he spoke to Aboukhlal, who denied him the story. “His behavior at the World Cup was impeccable. Our team leader is a woman, and when she fumed, he kept his head down. He has a lot of respect for others, he was proud to represent his country and to be part of the team, even after his goal against Belgium he did not act differently. He’s a good guy, he’s a kid who’s anything but pretentious. I have nothing to say about his behavior. Although he does not speak French, and I have told him in the past, he will have to learn it quickly to better understand his environment. The Moroccan coach goes on to explain that Aboukhlal donates to an orphanage in Casablanca, as well as to nearby football grounds.
RMC Sport had reported that Laurence Arribagé, deputy mayor of Toulouse in charge of sport, told the players to be quiet for manager Philippe Montanier’s speech, to which Aboukhlal reportedly replied: “Where I come from, women don’t speak to men”. like that.” He then allegedly confronted her later to ask her to apologize. Arribagé confirmed to RMC that she told the players to be quiet, and that they did not appreciate her request. However, she denied the outlet’s version of events – “There is no story.” RMC nevertheless stuck to their story – which has just been confirmed by AFP – and Aboukhlal is now sidelined by his club pending an investigation – he will now train alone until further notice.