Les joueurs algeriens blessés au Caire
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A cellphone camera captures the stoning of the bus carrying the Algerian soccer players by Egyptian fans as they travel through Cairo.
Matches between these two countries have never ended well. In 1989, the two teams met and the match ended in an orgy of violence on and off the pitch with an Egyptian supporter losing an eye and an Interpol arrest warrant for an Algerian player.
An Algerian player Rafik Helliche arrived at the hotel, bleeding from the shattered glass, in an interview said, “We lived a Hitchcock-like scenario.”
FIFA has written to the Egyptian government asking for written assurances to provide better security even as the go ahead was given for the match. Algerian fans have also complained that they have not been given tickets to the game after buying them. A war of words has broken out on the Internet with Algerian fans mocking Egypt for losing the Six Day war to Israel (called “Naksa”) and accusing them of selling out Palestine. Egyptians retaliated by bringing up France’s occupation of Algeria that enslaved them.
The Algerians can lose by a goal and still qualify. Two goals down will force a tiebreaker to be played on November 18th. The Egyptians get through with three clear goals. About 70,000 fans are expected with about 2000 Algerians in attendance. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika will also be present for the match. It will be a supercharged atmosphere with passions running high. Hopefully it all goes well.