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Algeria-Egypt: Online Feud Over Football Match

Tension is building between Egyptian and Algerian football fans ahead of a decisive match due to take place in Cairo on November 14. The encounter will determine which of both teams will qualify to next year's FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Egypt needs at least a two-goal win to force a playoff on a neutral ground while Algeria, which has failed to qualify to the World Cup since 1986, will  battle to keep its current leading position in the qualifiers group. Ahead of the Saturday showdown, rival fans have been gearing up offline, as well as in heated online exchanges, escalating into a bitter “cyber-war” of intimidation.

Algerian blogger Adel [Fr], sums up the chain of events that led to the row. He writes:

Ce n’est pas sur le carré vert que le match a commencé à se jouer mais sur la toile. En attendant l’entrée des 22 joueurs sur la pelouse du fameux Cairo Stadium, la rencontre a débuté de manière assez peu banale entre les «Facebookeurs» (membres du réseau Facebook) algériens et égyptiens. Tout a commencé par de simples discussions dans les forums avant que cela ne prenne de l’ampleur. Voulant montrer leur savoir-faire dans la retouche d’image, les Egyptiens ont été les premiers à ouvrir les hostilités en publiant des photos «anti-algérien».

Les Egyptiens voulaient expliquer à travers un tel acte que leurs joueurs sont «très forts» et qu’ils sont en mesure d’écraser l’équipe nationale algérienne. Cela donna le top à une guerre d’un genre particulier. La guerre des images et des parodies.

It seems that the match already started online, away from the football pitch. Well before the 22 players entered the famous Cairo Stadium, a bitter showdown began between Algerian and Egyptian Facebookers. It all started with friendly discussions in forums, before things got out of proportion. Wanting to show their expertise in image editing, the Egyptians were the first to open hostilities by publishing “anti-Algerian” photographs.The Egyptians wanted to show that their players were the “strongest” and that they are able to crush the Algerian national team. This gave the go-ahead to a war of a peculiar kind. A war of images and parody.

Videos, dubbing scenes taken from famous Hollywood blockbusters, flooded YouTube, placing the face-off at a Homeric level.

In the following video [Ar], posted by hakemvoip [Fr], Mel Gibson is Rabah Wallace (Braveheart), an Algerian war leader who tries to galvanize his troops ahead of the much expected confrontation:

In this other video, Egyptian ulyesis welcomes Algerian fans to what he calls “hell” in Cairo:

Blogger GEMYHOoOD [Ar] posts pictures of thousands of Egyptian fans who queued up in different parts of Cairo, hoping to get tickets for the match. He publishes pictures of the gatherings:

Egyptian Fans
Egyptian Fans

GEMYHOoOD also posts some eyewitness accounts:

انا خدت اجازة اليوم ونزلت من الصبح لنادي الصيد الساعة 8 الصبح وللاسف لقيت موت ناس وزحمة وطابور فيه حوالي 3000 واحد ودفع وشتيمة والناس كل شوية بتزيد ومش عارف اقف من الزق والعرق بجد مهزلة

I took the day off to come to the club at 8 AM [to get tickets]. Sadly I found a huge crowd and a large queue of about 3000, with people pushing and swearing. I couldn't move. I was stuck. I thought, this is a disgrace.

The official bus of the Algerian football team, which arrived in Cairo on November 12, was allegedly assaulted by local fans, as the following video, posted on YouTube by Vidéos Mouloudia Club d'Oran, seems to be showing:

The world football governing body FIFA, felt it necessary to issue a warning to the football associations of Algeria and Egypt, reminding both that “the preliminary competition for the 2010 World Cup should end as it began, in the spirit of fair play with the necessary cooperation of all the parties.”

One People, One Language One Goal

A website, Algerie Egypte Match [Ar, Fr], dedicated to the event and monitoring all kind of news related to the match, was created by Algerian fans.

Within this climate of bitter rivalry, some people created a group on the social networking website Facebook, pleading for more tempered feelings. Laama Bouchema posts a message on the group's Wall saying:

[A]s much as i am angry for what happend to the algerian team, i do not judge a whole nation for what some idiots did! it is stupid what angry fans are doing! for god's sake it wont matter who gets in the [Wold Cup].

Egyptian blogger Lasto Adri [Ar], deplores how what was supposed to be a sporting event, degenerated into a nasty confrontation. She writes:

مندهشة من التعصب وتدنى مستوى لغة الحوار بين مشجعى منتجب مصر ومنتخب الجزائر والظاهر بوضوح فى التعليقات على المواقع الإخبارية أو الرياضية… ومندهشة أكثر بتغذية هذه المأساه إعلاميا بتعليقات من بعض المذيعين (من كلا الجانبين)…
المشجعون الجزائريون أخطؤوا فى المبارة السابقة.. لكن هل الرد يكون هكذا؟.. هل الرد يكون بطلب البعض تسميم اللعيبة ولا إقلاقهم فى منامهم ولا توليع الإستاد وقت الماتش من التشجيع؟..

ونرفزتنى التعليقات على أغلب المواقع.. وإفتكرت لما الجزائر -بزعامة الرئيس الجزائري هواري بومدين- كانت أكتر دولة ساندت مصر فى حرب 1973، رغم فقرها الشديد..
حزينة ان انتهاء علاقة مابين شعبين تكون بشقاق على كورة…

I'm surprised by the level of intolerance and the mean language used by fans of the Egyptian and Algerian teams, which appears in most comments on news and sport websites… I'm also bewildered by the way some anchors and journalists (from both sides), are fueling this tragedy through their fiery comments…
Algerian fans misbehaved in the previous game .. but is the Egyptian reaction right? .. Should the answer be (as some suggested) the poisoning of Algerian players? Harassing and depriving them from sleep? Setting the stadium ablaze the day of the match?
I am upset by the comments on most sites .. I remembered when Algeria – led by President Houari Boumedienne – despite its extreme poverty, came to the support of Egypt in the 1973 war..
I'm saddened by the fact that such a relationship between two peoples might break up over a foot ball…

32 comments

  • hakem

    This is action reaction …

    I don’t know what you guys see in the news. But we see that 20 algerians ahve been killed and 150 injured. Some beaten to death by egyptians in Cairo. Its very simple, just go to youtube and type the right keywords….

    Algerians invaded Orascom office, not because they lost the game, but because the supporters came back with stintches ….

    I hope you will be reasonable enough and laid back enough to go and read other media than egyptian media …. and fair enough to appreciate the content

  • Karim

    It may be funny but insulting to Egyptian as usual.

  • Maghrebin

    Je suis surprise par une tel niveau de la part des 2 supporters .Pourquoi tant de violence , pourquoi tant de haine les uns envers les autres .Ce n est qu un match de foot et non pas un combat guerrier .C est vrai le match est tres important mais pas a tel point de declarer une guerre.Mes freres agleriens et egyptiens , on est de la meme religion , on parle la meme langue , on est ds le meme continent et on a le meme but .Le meilleur est celui qui jouera bien et gagnera a la fin pas celui qui tapera le + fort .Les 2 supporters sont cences encourager chaqu un son equipe et non pas jouer le de guerriers.Le jeu restera tjrs un jeu .Supporters Algeriens et Egyptiens comportez vous en tant que gens civilises et lasser la violence et la haine de cote .C est une competition sportive et non guerre violent .Je suis neutre , je ne suis ni egyptien ni algerien .Je suis un maghrebin musulmant qui est ecoeures par tout ce qui se passe en ce moment .J espere que les pharaons et les berberes se calmeront cette fois .
    Maghrebin du nord

  • Blocka

    I would like to reply to the one who claims that Algerians attacked Orascom and so on.
    That took place after our bus was cowardly attacked by mindless cowards who seem only capable to take advantage of people on their own soil.
    What kind of man are these? attacking your hosts in your own country, how brave is this? any foolish coward can do this. It was in your own country with all your supporters against a coach full of Algerians. We are and we proved that we are a brave nation and nobody can deny this and when the Egyptians were in Algeria we treated them the Islamic way of treating your host, I seriously question how Islamic are the guys who attacked the Algerian bus.
    Let’s now do some history, never in the past we heard of the egyptian team treated badly or attacked in Algeria, but every time the algerian team goes to Egypt they are at least harassed or deprived of sleep by mindless thugs.
    So the problem is not with the Algerians, we are way too civilsed for attacking our hosts at home.
    Egypt was the 1st civilisation in the world now the pyramid is upside down.

  • selsa

    i saw the show of hetler done by the egyptians against their brothers algerians.Let me asking this smart who has prepare this subtittle in egyptian ,who was hetler ? he was killing whom? are arabs enemy know only hetler ,hetler is semilar to algeria ?and egypt to jewish?what wrong with you are u so hanted by this stupid match ,thats why till now no arabic country has won the world cup.i want to see the arabe faces to see an other country winniging it, when those who are really civilised in their education will arrive to the end.Wake up ARABS

  • fatimaalgerian

    Algerians won!!!!!!!!!!!!! the best won

  • Blocka

    After all the grief , bodily harm, and harassment, the team who played better football won. I am Algerian and I give full marks to the egyptian players because they were not influenced by some minority of their crowd that behaved in an utterly discusting and cowardly way when they attacked the Algerian coach and injured some of our players.
    We didn’t stage it as cameras can’t lie. I have a great respect for the Egyptian scholars like Dr Karadawi and if anyone ask me to name the best Muslim of this era I would choose him. Saying that, some egyptian mindless suporters are letting your great nation down and giving you egyptians the bad name, the egyptian government should do something about that as it is not the 1st time that Algerian or Morocan players are attacked in Egypt because of football, Come on egyptians sort those bad seeds amongst you.

  • hakem

    It started with football. But now, egyptians have attacked algerian national symbols: The football team, the national anthem. On top of it: they have beaten hard algerian supporters in streets of Cairo. From there, not only algeria response but the world has raised his voice. In french we say: \celui qui sème le vend, récolte la tempête\. Yes Orascom premises have been attacked (and so did Algiers airport) and burnt by angry algerians supporters

    I was very happy yesterday night. Tunisians, palestinians, moroccoans, sudanese (chosen by egytpians themselves) were all celebrating with Algeria. It seems egypt, with its intimidation practices has made lot of ennemies , that have created a cohesion \maghreb united\ thanks to this.

    As for football alone, our team has performed great last night and so did the egyptian team. Congratulations to all of them and I hope this will stay a lesson for egyptians that intimidation never works on a long run …

    1 ..2..3 Viva l’Algérie

    The problem I see is that:

  • said

    its a shame on both of Egyptien and Algerian people to be cought in the trap of a minority who wants make an ignition between two counteries of the same culture the same race the same language and the same conviction.
    it is just a football match . nothing had happened to make all this war media .
    I believe that the majority of people around the world are against this bahavior .
    I request from every responsible in the two counteries to reduce this tension and try restitute the real relations that links the two counterises

  • Blocka

    I have tried to be reasonable and promote the Arab solidarity,but when I watched the Al Masriya satellite channel last night and their 100% biased views, I changed my mind. Al Masriya tried to make it seem like the Egyptians were the victims and the Algerians are the opressers. They blamed Al Jazeera for showing the Algerian bus attacked by their thugs. Well Al Masriya, don’t talk about channels that are way more professional and internationally better ranked than you. I respect Al Jazeera for their high level of professionalism and impartiality. What do you want them to do? sweep the utterly discusting event below the carpet as Al Marsriya would do, or change the facts to please the government. Well Al Masriya that only a handfull of people know and they are all egyptians, learn from Al Jazeera and bring people from all sides of the argument to make it fair. No Algerians were allowed to express their views, it was a one way street kind of debate where every shovinist of Egypt got their swords to harm the image of Algeria. Ask yourselves the question, who started this mess? and that’s the fairest way to judge in any conflict in the world. Newton says for every action there is a reaction and the Algerian reaction was patience first. We gave roses to your players in Blida (the town of roses), you gave our players bricks, stones, and blood in their faces. What do you expect from us? to hugh you for that. Well, know that our pateince has limits as Om Kalthoum says, and when we return the favour, we do it ten fold. Now if Egyptians want ot return to the good relations we once had when Jamal Abdul Nasser was in power, we are ready to do that. If Egypt won 5-0 and went to the world cup without the blood in the faces bit and the dead and injured supporters we Algerian would have applauded them and we would have supported them in the world cup. I remember in 1990 when Egypt went through to the world cup beating Algeria, every Algerian was supporting Egypt as if Algeria was playing in the world cup.

    The Algerian hate the Al Masriya was playing in high notes, is probably temporary and it is a reaction rather than an action, but the egyptian hate towards Algerians is an action fuelled but considerations other than football.

    A lot of Algerian blood fell on Egyptian soil in 1973, is that why you hate us Egyptians, we proved that we were shoulder to shoulder giving our lives to help our brothers the Egyptians. What did we get for that? stones and admissions to Egyptian hospitals. Thanks for your generosity Egyptians, now the favour has been amplified and returned.

    As The Arabic proverb says, ?ad for bad and the one who starts it is the opresser.

    Maa Assalama Al Masriya, you’ve got a lot to learn to become a channel with an acceptable level of professionalism, I have just deleted your channel from my satellite channel list. Bye Bye kchchchchchchchchchchch.

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