The Algerian “Greens” became the last African team to qualify for the South Africa 2010 World Cup finals with an undisputed 1-0 win over current African Champions, the Egyptian Pharaohs, in Khartoum on Wednesday, November 18. The Algerian “Greens” did it the hard way after being forced to a one-off clash with a stunning 2-0 loss to the Egyptian Pharaohs, given their first leg convincing 3-1 win in Algiers in June.
As history has shown, soccer matches between the two countries have always been electrifying and unpredicatable, and the match in Khartoum was yet another evidence. What a show piece it was! The Algerian greens set the tempo of the match, superbly resisting the Pharaohs’ offensives.
Through their charismatic captain Yazid Mansouri (FC Lorient, France), the Greens launched thunderous counter attacks that kept the Pharaohs on visible alert all the time. The Greens imposed their power, with stiff and tough contacts, exellent dribling skills.
In the 40th minute, central defender Antar Yahia (Vfb Bochum player) unleashed a superb volley in an impossible angle which left Veteran Egyptain goal keeper, El Hadary helpless to make it 1-0.
The Algeria wining spirit was so evidenced throughout the game, they kept the Pharaohs on the defensive which was very contrary to the Egyptian traditional build-up system. The dependable Algerian defence of Madjid Boughera, Nadir Belhad and Antar Yahia, left the Pharoahs off the pitch.
All this happened in the face of violent accusations from the two countries during their encounters. The Egyptian media had indicated that during the Pharaohs’ trip to Algeria, for the first leg of their encounter, their team had been deprived of sleep because Algerians had been allowed into their hotel premises to make noise throughtout the night, which is why they lost to the Greens.
The Algerian national team, upon arrival in Cairo for the return match, was greeted with stones and rocks. Four of them were wounded. The world football governing body, Fifa, has launched official investigations.
Meanwhile, celebrations are still ongoing among Algerian communities worldwide. Throughout Europe, particularly in Paris, women, men and children flooded the streets with Algerian flags and loud singing into the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday.
“Our secret was simple, Algeria has nothing to fear from the other big names of world football. We told ourselves we were as good as anyone else and had every right to be in the World Cup finals. We had no intention of letting our chances of qualifying slip by,” said Karim Ziani, Algeria midfielder.
With all roads leading to South Africa come June 2010, a lot of people will surely watch out for the continents’s very talented representatives, most of whom play in big European clubs.
The 2010 soccer festival in South Africa is expected to be dominated by the unbeaten Elephants of Cote d’ivoire, the Super Eagles of Nigeria, the Black Stars of Ghana, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, Bafana bafana, and finally the Algeria Greens.
In the meantime, the Egyptian government has recalled its ambassador to Algeria following complaints about violence towards football fans. The move comes after Algeria’s ambassador in Cairo was summoned to the Egyptian foreign ministry. Sudan has also summoned the Egyptian envoy in Khartoum; angry at Egyptian media coverage of the game’s aftermath. According to the AFP, Egypt also suspended its membership of the Union of North African Football Federations on Thursday.