Egypt Independent

FM moves to avert pre-match Egypt-Algeria football tension



Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit called his Algerian counterpart Tuesday to coordinate efforts by their two ministries to head off potential disputes between football fans of both countries at an Africa Cup semi-final match slated for next Thursday in Angola.

"The match should reflect the historical and fraternal relations between the peoples of the two countries," Hisham Youssef, spokesman for the Arab League secretariat-general, said.

According to recent statements by Angola’s assistant foreign minister, Angolan security services plan to ratchet up security both before and during the match in an effort to protect both players and fans and to preempt possible clashes.

National Sports Council chief Hassan Saqr, meanwhile, urged Egyptian Football Federation head Samir Zaher to "tone down" his patriotic rhetoric so as not to incite the public to violence. He went on to point out that the Algerian press had already begun attacking Egypt and its national team ahead of the scheduled match.

Limited clashes erupted between Egyptian and Algerian fans after a World Cup play-off match–won by Algeria–held in Sudan last November.

"We want to forget what happened back then," said Hassan Shehata, Egyptian national team coach. "We’ll just play to win."

Translated from the Arabic Edition.