Controversy continues to blight Algeria Football Federation


While the five African representatives set for the World Cup finalize their preparations for next summer's showpiece, controversy continues to mire the Algerian national team.

The latest cause for concern stems from a tweet sent by the Algerian Football Federation's Twitter account on Wednesday morning, publishing the resolutions of the Federal Bureau.

"Decision of the BF (Federal Bureau): Two criteria will be taken into consideration to call-up an Algerian player playing abroad in one of the national teams: his or her unconditional commitment to Algeria, and his or her technical superiority over the players in Algeria," read the statement.

Almost immediately, Galatasaray midfielder Sofiane Feghouli responded with three emoticons indicating disbelief and confusion. Bilel Ghazi, a French-Algerian journalist with strong links to many Algerian internationals, believes the language used by the Algerian Federation is what irked French-Algerian internationals.

"The language used in the tweet is clearly problematic as we are made to understand that there are 'other' Algerians for the Algerian Football Federation," he told KweséESPN. "Those with dual citizenship on one side, and locals on the other. "What does 'unconditional attachment to Algeria' even mean?" Ghazi continued. "Will we have to pass an entrance exam? You are hinting that there are two kinds of Algerians.

"These are players that may have had difficulties in France or elsewhere with their status as immigrants. Now they are to understand that in the country of their ancestors they also have to prove their allegiance."

Feghouli had already implicitly accused current national team manager Rabah Madjer of discrimination on a lengthy social media post back in August 2016.

A mes Algériennes et mes Algériens, J'ai toujours dit ce que j'avais sur le cœur et ce, dans un seul but, faire avancer les choses pour le bien collectif. Je me suis toujours investi pour notre équipe nationale, depuis ma première convocation, et ça ne changera jamais, que je sois remplaçant ou titulaire. Dernièrement, j'ai entendu parler de voyou, de racaille, de star à l'ego surdimensionné, et je ne parle pas des insultes... On tente de me salir ainsi que mes frères de la sélection. Il y a des gens en manque de reconnaissance qui colportent des rumeurs car ils ont un problème avec ceux qu'ils appellent les "binationaux" ou plus insultant "l'immigré". Ils refusent de voir l'apport exceptionnel qu'ont eu ces joueurs sur l'EN en s'investissant sérieusement, fièrement, pour l'Algérie. Quand je regarde l'origine de ces rumeurs, je me rappelle que ces gens veulent un poste à la FAF et qu'après la défaite face à la Belgique ils nous ont tapé dessus en nous voyant déjà rentrer à la maison. Ils cherchent encore le moyen de faire parler d'eux. Je pense que nous possédons une génération unique, certains disent même historique, qui ne forme qu'un seul clan. Elle mouille le maillot, joue un football en général séduisant et donne du bonheur à tout le pays et même au-delà. Elle est unie et elle a besoin de ses supporters ! L'EN est sacrée, elle n'appartient ni à Feghouli, ni à Brahimi, ni à Mahrez ni à aucun joueur, elle appartient au peuple Algérien ! Elle est aujourd'hui dirigée de façon très professionnelle, chaque joueur et dirigeant qui la compose est responsable et discipliné. Nous ne lui voulons que du bien et ce qui nous motive le plus est de voir la joie du peuple Algérien quand il regarde son équipe. Nous ferons toujours de notre mieux pour le drapeau Algérien et sommes plus que jamais motivés. L'ambiance qui règne dans l'équipe est très bonne, sincère, honnête. La rage de vaincre y est intacte. Nous donnerons tout pour nous qualifier pour la Coupe du Monde et aller le plus loin possible à la CAN2017. Je ne laisserai personne remettre en cause mon attachement ou celui de mes frères de sélection à notre pays et à notre équipe ! Affectueusement, Tahia el khadra 🇩🇿

A post shared by Sofiane Feghouli (@sffeghouli) on

"Some people lack recognition and propagate rumours because they have a problem with dual nationals or 'émigrés'," the former West Ham United wideman stated pointedly.

During his first press conference as Algeria head coach, Madjer responded to accusations that he might not be able to work with all of his players due to statements he made on television as a consultant.

"I do not have problems with anyone," he affirmed. "The door is open to everyone."

Domestic media reported that the reason for the Federation's statement follows Houssem Aouar's refusal to make a decision regarding his international future.

The 19 year-old Olympique Lyonnais midfielder with Algerian origins has made a blistering start to the Ligue 1 campaign, scoring a goal and notching two assists as a central midfielder.

However, Ghazi believes that information is erroneous.

"He has never been called up by Algeria," he said, "and neither he nor his entourage have any contact with the Algerian Federation."

On Thursday morning, former manager of the Algerian national team and current National Technical Director, Rabah Saadane, held a press conference on the outskirts of Algiers.

He was asked to clarify the criteria referenced in the Algerian Federation's tweet.

"We are trying to kick-start Algerian football by doing grassroots work," the former national team coach began. "There are great talents available domestically but unfortunately our football is completely disorganized. So we are trying to start over and build bases here (in Algeria).

"Without forgetting that, at certain tough times, we have dossiers of young players that are proposed to the Federation. We have a database and when we need these players, we will bring them according to the needs of the team."

Saadane concluded on a slightly ambiguous tone: "The door will always remain open, but it will be used when we need it. These players have to manifest their Algerian-ness."

Wednesday's tweet follows a series of communicative missteps from the Algerian Federation, the most blatant of which included publicly indicated that Riyad Mahrez was excused from the third matchday of World Cup qualifying as he was to imminently sign for a new club.

Mahrez subsequently travelled to Paris, Algeria lost in Zambia and the 26-year-old remained at Leicester City.

The Algerian Football Federation's media department could provide no additional comment with regards to its tweet or its communication policy.