HomeSportMorocco must expect a blow from Algeria

Morocco must expect a blow from Algeria

The Atlas U17 Lions traveled to Algeria to compete in the African Cup of Nations (CAN) after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA intervened. But the specter of a new diplomatic or sporting incident, signed by the Algiers regime, is never far away.

The tournament, organized in Algeria, is an important event for the African selections, since it is a qualifier for the U17 World Cup.

In January, Algeria had prevented Morocco from competing in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) by denying it access to Algerian territory through a direct flight from Rabat, signing a flagrant violation of the nails of the competition.

However, the Moroccan team was double reigning CHAN champion and was supposed to defend its title for the competition.

Algeria had severed its diplomatic relations with Morocco in 2021 and had closed its airspace and prohibited the entry into its territory of Moroccan registered planes. As a result, it had prevented the Moroccan team from making a direct flight through the official national carrier of the Moroccan teams, Royal Air Maroc (RAM).

It should be noted that Morocco, for its part, did not break its diplomatic relations with Algeria and did not prohibit access to its air space to planes coming from Algeria or registered Algerians.

The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) officially protested to CAF for this prejudice. But the continental competitions whose organization has been entrusted to Algeria are numerous, and CAF was expected to find a solution to prevent the Algerian regime from violating the rules.

While the FRMF announced its participation in CANU17 and its intention to go to Algeria through a direct flight and therefore its refusal to make a detour of several hours to comply with the illegitimate demands of the Algerian regime, Thursday evening, a source familiar with the matter announced a compromise.

The compromise was found after the intervention and long negotiations of the bosses of CAF, Patrice Motsepe, and FIFA, Gianni Infantino, who forced Algeria to comply with the rules. The Cubs were allowed to travel to Algeria on a direct flight, but the question now is: At what cost?

Although Morocco is within its rights, the showdown with Algeria over the participation of national teams in continental competitions has repercussions that tarnish Algeria’s image and continue to fuel mistrust and enmity.

If the scenario of Morocco’s non-participation in CAN U17 2023 could be avoided by making Algeria bend, the fact remains that the revenge tendency of this country is never far away. Moroccan Cubs will have to be very careful. They are not immune to ill-treatment such as the attack described as “barbaric” by the FRMF, which they suffered in the Arab Cup final by the Algerian team, in September 2022.

We naturally expect a new manifestation of the Machiavellian character of the Algerian regime during this competition. During the CHAN 2023 in which Morocco could not participate, Algeria invited the grandson of Nelson Mandela, paid 100,000 dollars, to give an anti-Moroccan political speech about the Moroccan Sahara at the opening of the competition.

The Algiers regime, which is leading a fierce media offensive against Morocco, also galvanized troops of soldiers and government agents disguised as “supporters” during the CHAN to insult Moroccans and chant racist songs.

Algerians who bought tickets to attend the matches and were banned from entering had filmed their reactions on social networks, attesting that their places had been allocated to these clerks of the Algerian regime.

This rivalry between Morocco and Algeria, on the initiative of Algiers, is detrimental to this country which should therefore see its candidacy eliminated from the race to organize the next CAN 2025. Aware of this reality, the Algeria has also applied for CAN 2027.



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