Algeria desperate to gear attention away from Morocco’s inroad at U17 African championship

Algeria desperate to gear attention away from Morocco’s inroad at U17 African championship

The elimination of Algeria’s U17 football squad by Morocco which made it to the final of the African championship in Algiers has had a shock and awe effect on the military junta in the country. Blinded by hostility to anything Moroccan, the regime programmed a match between a team representing the Polisario militias and a MCA club in the capital, in a desperate move to distract attention from Morocco’s inroads and the messages of neighborliness, professionalism and sportsmanship the young Atlas Lions exhibited.

Some might say that this is a minor championship that few people are interested in. But for the Algerian regime hoisting the Moroccan flag and broadcasting the national anthem of a country they have long unilaterally depicted as the “enemy” is a nightmare.

Moroccan players have shown sportsmanship while in Algeria hugging and consoling their Algerian counterparts who left the championship and lost a place in the World Cup. Such images contrast with the violence Moroccans were subjected to a few months ago when Algerian players and fans attacked under-age Moroccans on the pitch. Morocco turned the page on that because sports is about bringing people together and patching up feuds.

But for the Algerian regime, sports is a way to stoke tension. Inviting a team that claims to represent the Polisario is a desperate move that verges on the absurd. The team travelled from Tindouf, an area Algeria considers as its own. Yet, Algerian sycophant media described the arrival as if the Polisario would-be footballers came from another country. Either they do not recognize Tindouf as an Algerian territory or they are fooling their own people with fake news that fools no one.

Algeria drew mockery during the Qatar 2023 World Cup when it imposed censorship on Morocco’s saga, omitting to mention its victories over heavyweights Belgium, Spain and Portugal.

It also triggered a forced withdrawal of Morocco from the African championship for local players CHAN after Algerians insisted on their direct flight ban on Moroccan aircrafts.

By doing so, Algeria- under military rule and a civilian façade- shows that it is not prepared ethically to host international championships as it continues to use sports in a desperate attempt to achieve its anti-Morocco agenda.

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