Algeria’s Fennec foxes will face the Burkina tomorrow in a qualification game for next year’s World Cup in Brazil. Algeria has lost in the first leg but still holds all its chances to qualify in Blida’s Tchaker stadium.
And it is exactly four years since the 2010 World Cup qualifiers and the game held between Algeria and Egypt in Um Darman. Algeria won that game and qualified for the World Cup.
It is also four years since we started this blog and I am surprised we kept it alive that long. The blog wasn’t the only thing that began with the Algeria/Egypt game. Algerian people suddenly reunited and patriotism took them over, the regime proved it was capable of achieving unusual stuff and some dreamers thought both the government and the population would raise and develop the country. They realised they were wrong soon enough and nothing really changed in the country.
I wondered whether I ashould assign this post to the category ‘Noteworthy Algerians‘, but decided not to because, even though obtaining a Gold medal at the Olympics is certainly a noteworthy achievement, most Algerian athletes and sportspeople are not noteworthy in that they do not have a sustained output. Take Hassiba Boulmerqa or Noureddine Morceli for example. What have they achieved since winning a Gold medal in the 1500 m in 1992 (Barcelona Olympics) and 1996 (Atlanta Olympics) respectively?
The first thing I did when I started this blog was to add “Algeria” and “Algérie” in the tag surfer of the blog’s dashboard. I can tell you that there are very few WordPress blogs with these two tags and very often the tag surfer page is empty.
There was just one occurrence when many blogs had mentioned Algeria, and that was around the 2010 World Cup, because Algeria was to play against England and the USA.
A second occurrence started these past weeks with the uprisings/revolts of Egypt and Tunisia. Plenty of blogs tag “Algeria”, and all were looking forward to this day. It’s not the World Cup but many men and women had a sudden interest in our country as they had decided it was Next in the list after Tunisia and Egypt.
The messages on Twitter are similar and everybody’s forwarding news reports, rumours, etc.
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 →
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:
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 →
Yes, it’s the truth and things are going quite well for them.
Remember when after the 13 to 18 November events (using this terminology gives them a kind of importance) between Egypt and Algeria, the former decided to withdraw from organising the African handball championship if Algeria was to participate. Algerians on their side not only confirmed their participation but also proposed to host the competition in case the Egyptians were serious about their threats.
Now (even before actually) we know it was only talks and Cairo is hosting the 19th African handball championship.
So both males and females national teams are competing in Egypt. Things didn’t start well for our very young girls as they were defeated twice (reminding me of our football NT against Malawi) whereas the men confirmed their African rank and easily won all their games. But the girls reacted positively and made us forget the first games.
Courtesy of DZHand.net
Today both teams are qualified for the semi-finals after beating the very dangerous Angolan men (26-19) and the Congolese girls (27-26). Both teams will play their next games against their Tunisian counterparts: the girls in the semi-final, and the boys in the last groups-round match.
As usual, there were some issues around this event like the Algerian delegation using an Egyptair flight instead of Air Algerie, the Algerian delegation being tightly “protected” by the Egyptian police until Bouteflika asked the Egyptian government to remove any special precautions, and of course the problems with NesmaTV who acquired the CAN television rights making it impossible for the ENTV to broadcast them.
Anyway, this was a short post for the sake of fairness (these teams deserve as equal consideration as the football one) and because I like handball almost as much as football. Good luck to our teams in the upcoming games; and who knows, a qualification for the WC is possible. Rana djayine ya Mandela (I know it won’t be in South Africa).