CHAN 2023: false notes between Morocco and Algeria

CHAN 2023: false notes between Morocco and Algeria

One week before kick-off, Morocco, double defending champion, threatens to boycott the African Nations Championship organized in Algeria. The reasons given would be logistical, but it is impossible not to see the hints of the diplomatic crisis which has strained relations between Algiers and Rabat for several years.

Friday, January 13, Algeria will kick off the 7th African Nations Championship (CHAN) against Libya in Baraki, in the Algiers suburbs. But one week before the start of the competition, reserved exclusively for players playing on the African continent, the organizing country and the double defending champion are playing a match far from the lawns. A tense diplomatic match, exacerbated by liabilities between the two countries, and revived by a logistical question around the CHAN.

The two countries have closed their border since 1994 and there are no direct flights between the two Maghreb countries. For the CHAN, in order to circumvent the problem, the Algerian organization proposed in Morocco a flight Rabat-Tunis-Constantine, this last city being that where are lodged the teams of the group C in which the Lions of the Atlas will evolve.

Broken diplomatic relations

An option that is too restrictive for the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, which retorts on December 28 to have ” requested the movement of the Moroccan selection via a special flight of Royal Air Maroc, official carrier, from Rabat to Constantine. (…) In the event of non-compliance with this point, the FRMF steering committee has unanimously decided not to participate in this edition.. »

A highly brandished threat before a first retreat from the president of the Moroccan Football Federation two days later. “Contrary to the information conveyed during the past 24 hours, we have requested that the plane be authorized to land in Constantine. And of course, the official carrier of all national teams is Royal Air Maroc “says Faouzi Lekjaa.

These bickerings between the two North African neighbors are however not surprising in view of the relations between the two countries for a few years. Already tense, diplomatic relations between Rabat and Algiers were unilaterally severed more than a year ago by Algeria, which accused the Cherifian kingdom ” hostile actions “. Since then, despite attempts at mediation, the tension remains high, as during the World Cup where Morocco’s course was zapped by Algerian national television.

The least well-prepared CHAN”

For the time being, nothing officially indicates a boycott of Moroccans, even if the trend was very strong according to the latest information from the Moroccan press, when the Atlas Lions begin their training camp this Friday, January 06, ten days away from entering the fray against Sudan. ” This is the least well-prepared CHAN since Morocco took part in the tournament “says a journalist based in Casablanca.

For its part, the Confederation of African Football acts as if nothing had happened and has not communicated on the issue either. But a boycott of Morocco, despite the great influence of its president of the Federation, could push the CAF to sanctions which would certainly affect the national team A, at a time when it is experiencing one of the most beautiful periods in its history with this fourth place at the last Qatari World Cup.