CHAN 2023: “Algiers wanted to show that tensions with Morocco remained high” (E. Dupuy)

Should we expect the slippages that marred the opening ceremony of the African Nations Football Championship (CHAN), which was held on Friday January 13 at the Nelson Mandela stadium in Algiers, such as the violent anti- of the grandson of the former South African leader, who called for arms against “a colonizing country”?

To this question, the political scientist Emmanuel Dupuy opposes the fact that Zwelivelile Mandela is only one of the many grandsons of the late president and that he was not intended to speak on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa, or to to be the spokesperson for his country, which was not represented at this ceremony.

“Mandela’s grandson’s statement should not be taken seriously”

“Since 1962, the political proximity of the African National Congress (ANC) with the National Liberation Front (FLN) has always been a historical constant; so there is nothing surprising in this statement. However, we must not overestimate her voice even if she calls for an uprising against Morocco, knowing that she is part of a minority position compared to that of the majority of African countries which do not recognize the SADR”, explains Emmanuel Dupuy, regretting the political turn taken by the CHAN in a post-World Cup context where the entire African continent has supported the historical performance from Morocco.

“Playground”

According to the political scientist, this politicization would sound false in the face of “the exemplary fourth place in the world of the Atlas Lions, which should have sheltered such political or political dross”; especially since the presidents of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) expressed regret at the ultra-politicization of the Algerian authorities.

“Despite Algeria’s deliberate desire not to have Morocco compete in the CHAN, this instrumentalization is part of a playground fight that makes no sense, neither in substance nor in form, and which confirms especially the disconnection total of the reality of the Algerian authorities, who wanted to take advantage of the holding of the CHAN to politicize the inauguration of the Mandela stadium”, advances Emmanuel Dupuy.

According to him, this sporting event was “an opportunity, even a godsend, for the Algerian authorities, who thus wanted to show that tensions with Morocco remained live“.

“A petty mistrust”

Not excluding negative consequences for Algeria after the launch of a CAF investigation, the political scientist believes that international admonitions will not have the slightest effect on an Algerian government which fully assumes its animosity towards the Morocco.

“In a normal context, they should apologize, but they are not in this logic. This instrumentalization, against the meaning of the story, is an act of defiance quite petty“, judge Emmanuel Dupuy. He is not surprised by the racist anti-Moroccan insults uttered by thousands of Algerian supporters, without their security services having deigned to put an end to them.

“A way to all skids”

While many observers have wondered whether the racist songs had been controlled by the Algerian power, our interlocutor refuses to believe in this hypothesis. “Unfortunately, such manifestations are common among supporters all over the world,” he recalls.

At the risk of them withdrawing, would such events have taken place with the participation of the Cubs and an official Moroccan delegation to CHAN? For Emmanuel Dupuy, in such a scenario, the Algerian authorities would surely have abstained because they would not have had an interest in provoking such a scandal in front of the cameras of the African and international press.

“Like what happened at the Arab League Summit, the context ofultra-politicization by Algeria of tensions with its neighbor could absolutely not lead to the presence, at the Mandela stadium, of an official delegation from Morocco alongside the Algerian leaders, who took advantage of it”, concludes the political scientist.

According to him, these events do not represent a new escalation, but rather a assumed will of Algiers not to improve bilateral relations with Morocco.

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