The World Cup is an interesting tournament on many accounts; for one thing it involves football, the most popular sport on the planet (thus giving it a greater impact factor than say the Olympic Games) and then it is about national teams competing against each other making it symbolic of nationalism or patriotism. This is probably why some anthropologists, evolutionary psychologists and sociologists have argued that football has become a substitute to ancient war epics which helped males let off their testosterone charges and feel useful the best way they know how (i.e. by being agressive). In a world where wars don’t need so much blood and flesh anymore, football becomes a suitable battlefield for all sorts of conflicts: political, psychological, sociological, patriotic, nationalistic, religious even, you name it. Of course, philosophically, sport is meant to unify and help people transcend their tribal instincts by promoting noble traits such as fairplay, modesty, respect and endurance, but in reality and especially in hugely popular sports where lots of money is involved, the facts on the ground are often diametrically opposed to the philosophical ideal behind sport.
Dear oh dear! The worst case scenario has materialized following the first match defeat on the hands (or rather feet) of those Slovenians. Although our team did outplay their Slovenian counterparts in the first half, the Slovenians came back in the second half and delivered a footballistic crusade on the Algerian team’s side of the pitch: statistics had to favor them to score a goal as Chaouchi couldn’t hang on forever (if it weren’t for him, we’d have had to lump down at least 3 more goals). Now, qualifying for the next round would be more complicated, it’s very frustrating because the Greens have stupidly let an easy and perfectly feasible 3 precious points slip through their toes. I was initially relieved to see a significantly better performance by our team than the dismal way they have played in the friendly matches. However, after watching the other games and how other teams have played Continue reading
Nelson Mandela couldn’t attend the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 World Cup after the tragic death of his great-granddaughter, and he also missed the opening game (1-1) which opposed his country to Mexico. The South-African team had the honour to score the first goal of the competition, and it seems it wouldn’t need the referees’ help to qualify for the next round (the host country’s team has never been eliminated in the groups’ round).
So far and after five games, the French team proved once again that it is unable to score (0-0 against Uruguay); the Koreans burst the Greek bubble (a well deserved 2-0 preventing the Greek population from forgetting their financial crisis); and the talented but young Nigerians did well against Maradona‘s team (0-1) even if the latter didn’t give it their all. Continue reading
Our national football team is playing against the UAE team in Fürth, north of Nuremberg (Germany) this afternoon at 17:00 Algerian local time. The familiar and popular stars of the Fennecs such as Bougherra, Yahya and Matmour will be back on the pitch for this match and this will be the last chance for coach Saâdane to test the team before the World Cup kick-off which will be next week. More info and comments on the event can be found here. Apparently, Mbolhi will take (our national hero) Chaouchi‘s position at the goals and Mansouri will still play in midfield (next to Lahcen) despite his comical performance in the previous match against Ireland. Check out this superb shot by Mansouri (at around 3:50 minutes into the video), for a minute there, I thought it was David Beckham playing for us! It’s a miracle he missed the goals with a shot like that and the (irritating) commentator seems to have found it excellent too! (moumtaza men Yazid Mansouri! he screamed!). The video below summarizes the highlights of the previous match against Ireland:
The ‘Desert Foxes‘ (Les Fennecs) arrived yesterday morning in Dublin where they will play their second World Cup warm-up match against the ‘Fur Foxes‘. The first one was against the Serbian ‘White Eagles’ and took place in the 5th of July stadium in Algiers on the 3rd March 2010. The match will take place in the RDS stadium in Dublin this evening. More info on the teams and where you can watch the match can be found in this post. Good luck to our national team! Maâk yal Khadra, Diri hala! Here’s one of my favorite supporters’ songs, feel free to attach your favorite supporters’ songs in the comments to encourage The (Magic) Greens for tonight’s match!:
One, Two, Three. Viva l’Algérie!
Here’s the official statement which was made public on May 18th (emphasis added):
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Marcel Mathier, decided today, 18 May, in Zurich to impose a ban on the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) whereby the “A” representative team of Egypt will play the first two home matches of the preliminary competition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ at a location at least 100 kilometres away from Cairo.
In addition, the EFA will have to pay a fine of CHF 100,000. The FIFA Disciplinary Committee took this decision after determining that the EFA had failed to Continue reading
Today the world celebrates the end of WWII. Algeria also commemorates 8 May 1945, but for us Algerians, this day was a bloody sad one. Like most of the old world’s populations, the Algerian people wanted to share their happiness after the end of WWII and remind the French colonizer and the other victors that they existed and wanted their freedom back, so they organized some peaceful demonstrations. But France didn’t intend it that way and massacres were perpetrated in many parts of Algeria, especially in Setif, Guelma and Kherrata.
So the commemoration of these events is a good way so nobody forgets the past and how dearly paid was our independence. The commemoration should also remind France and the world of the ugliness and inhumanity of the colonisation system. These last years’ talks between Algeria and France, and the more recent questions which arouse in France around the “Outside of the law” movie, show that we probably need more frequent and stronger reminders if we want to convince everybody.
Having said this, I would like to deal with another aspect of these events.
‘Nif’ is an Algerian word which literally means “nose” but metaphorically, it is used to signify many things and is often translated as ‘pride’ (English) or ‘fierté’ (French). However, I am not sure if this is an accurate translation of this word and I am going to give examples of situations which recently arose in the world of sport, where Algerians justified such or such attitude/ behavior as symbolic of the ‘nif algérien’:
- When Zidane head-butted Materazzi after he provoked him in the 2006 World Cup Final. Zidane was sent off and France lost the game. Zidane later admitted that he’d rather die than apologize to that loser Materazzi.
- When Raouraoua refused to shake hands with his Egyptian homolog in the aftermath of the pelting of the national football team’s bus in Cairo.
- When, as a response to the Continue reading
Algeria just qualified for the quarterfinals of the CAN after their tie (0-0) with Angola, and Mali’s victory over Malawi (3-1).
The first half was quite good with both teams playing seriously, and each one had a very good opportunity to score. But the second leg seemed more like a training session. It was like both teams decided to let go after they knew of the other game’s score. I have to say that I didn’t like it and felt kind of uneasy, esp. during the last ten minutes.
Sorry for Mali who “helped” us qualify and good luck to them in the future.
The Algerian team didn’t play well in the first round, scoring only one goal and receiving three Malawian goals. The three games proved our lack of coherence among other things. They also showed once again that the press and supporters usually have a very short memory. They indeed qualified Saadane of the worst adjectives after having called him Cheikh Saadane, and the players suddenly became the worst ever after having been our heroes and… martyrs.
Anyway, now we have to prepare for our next game on Jan. 24 against either Ivory Coast or Burkina Faso. I am suspecting we’d get the former ones, but we will know tomorrow for sure.
Hope the injured players will feel better and Saadane and his staff will come up with a plan to improve the team’s performances.
Angola hosts today and for 21 days the CAN competition. Algeria qualified for it and for the South African World Cup of this year after three long and exhausting qualification rounds. We still remember the last two games against Egypt in Cairo and Sudan, and the popular, media, cultural and politic reactions they caused.
The Algerian team members have been celebrated by the population and president Bouteflika as if they had won the WC. Their achievement was indeed one of the most important of last year, and the joy they brought to the Algerians (in Algeria and abroad) had no limits.
Algeria is now mobilised and living for its team and it looks like any other affairs and issues are postponed until the last game of Algeria in the WC.
The Fennecs prepared the competition in southern France. The preparation was unfortunately disturbed by the usual problems: Mehdi Lahcene’s joining or not the team, the bonuses and incentives, Puma’s black&white jerseys, and some important players’ injuries. And the Algerian newspapers didn’t help as they spread the rumours about Saadane’s resignation, Raouraoua’s conflict with the players, etc.