Moroccan U17 players show sportsmanship after beating Algeria 3-0 in Constantine
After suffering pressure from the army, the Algerian under 17-year-old football team lost 3-0 to Morocco which made it to the semi-finals and to the World Cup while showing empathy and sportsmanship on the pitch after their victory.
The Algerian under-aged footballers have suffered enormous pressure by a military junta that portrayed the match as a matter of life and death.
First, they were received by army officials for indoctrination and the Great Mosque of Algiers was opened to them for prayers for the first time where the Imam could be heard imploring the almighty to grant the kids victory over their adversaries.
The instigation and indoctrination inflicted on the Algerian U17 team contrasts with the sportsmanship shown by the Atlas Lions and their coach.
Morocco’s coach Said Chiba corrected an Algerian journalist who sought to provoke him by asking whether the Moroccans will seek revenge for their loss during the Arab cup.
Chiba’s answer prior to the game was that Morocco was not following a logic of revenge and that we are dealing with under-age footballers in the process of learning.
After the game, the young Moroccan lions showed sportsmanship in the field consoling their Algerian counterparts. A scene of a young Algerian player bursting into hysteric tears with a Moroccan player hugging him was reflective of the pressure Algerians suffered under a military junta that is keen to instrumentalize sports to stoke hostility to Morocco.
Eight months ago, Algerian young players and adult fans attacked Moroccan players on the pitch during the final of the Arab cup, in a scandal that showed a security failure and the spillover of the anti-Moroccan sentiment propagated by the regime’s media apparatus.