Australian midfielder Yahya El Hindi has been left clubless after a transfer to Greek football outfit Xanthi FC broke down.
Former Sydney Olympic and Rockdale City Suns player El Hindi had earned a European move after impressing in the Bahrainian Premier League and debuting for Lebanon at international level.
The 22-year-old, born and raised in Sydney’s west, was eyeing a dream move to Europe to chase his dreams after playing in the Middle East for the past two years.
El Hindi had agreed terms with Xanthi, owned by Australian Bill Papas and now coached by former Sydney Olympic boss Jaime Monroy, for the 2021-2022 season.
But after media reports emerged alleging that Papas had been involved in a massive bank fraud of more than $200 million, and had left Australia, a concerned El Hindi pulled out of the overseas move.
Now the devatstaed ex-Fraser Parker junior, who had knocked back offers in Asia to head to Greece, has been left stranded and without a club.
“I had a great season in Bahrain with Budaiya, it was the first time in the club’s history to stay in the top flight after being promoted,” he told FTBL.
“I had come back to Sydney during the off-season and when I was there Bill Papas reached out to me. I had meetings with him and an offer was made.
“At the same time I had receiving two offers in the Middle East and one from a Bahrainan club. Promises were made with Bill that I would be looked at by English sconts as well, in Greece, and I agreed to the offer with Xanthi.
"Then a week after I signed reports came out about the fraud. I was shocked. He fled Australia. My ticket was booked to leave for Greece. But all the trust with Bill was gone, I couldn’t take the risk to join Xanthi.
“Now I’ve been left scrambling to find a club a short notice. Its been crazy. I’m confident I’ll bounce back, but it’s really, really upsetting.”
In June Former Socceroo Zeljko Kalac slammed former club Xanthi over their sacking of Tony Popovic and himself.
Papas had purchased the second-tier Greek side with the aim of turning into a launching pad into Europe for Aussie footballers.
El Hindi says his move to Xanthi was not about financial rewards but about the opportunity to break into Europe.
“If I wanted the money I would have stayed in the Middle east,” he admitted.
“It’s devastating. I’m 22, I believe I’ve got a big future ahead. [But] it’s been an eye-opener for me. I thought it would have been a good introduction to Europe.”
The midfielder is now a free agent and has been training daily by himself in Sydney to remain fit.
El Hindi is focused on landing a professional contract in Germany.
“I’m looking at the Middle East market, but in the Middle East all the foreigner places have been taken up,” he said.
Papas and Xanthi had not responded for requests for comment when approached by FTBL.