Algeria’s crusades against Moroccan institutions continue, with President of Morocco’s Football Federation (FRMF), Fouzi Lekjaa being the latest target.
Algeria’s state media published an article last week taking aim at Lekjaa, accusing him, without a trace of substantial proof, of “corruption” and “manipulation,” among other charges.
Published online on Fennec Football outlet, the article claims that Lekjaa’s “manipulations have become obvious to all,” adding: “Moroccans have realized that he is a corrupt person who works for the regime without making any contribution to Moroccan soccer, his only job being to talk about Algeria.”
The article is loosely based on a couple of statements from Moroccan fans who have expressed their dissatisfaction with FRMF after a local football club did not qualify for the Arab Cup.
Algerian state media managed to frame the news of local dissatisfaction with one of FRMF’s less popular decisions to a full blow-out campaign against a Moroccan official in the latest episode of its anti-Morocco rhetoric.
Criticism of decisions made by a Moroccan public institution documented by Moroccan media is, in fact, a cause for celebration for any country that caters to the needs of its citizens. However, in a country run by a military regime, it appears that the state media can only misconstrue the news as evidence of Morocco’s “corruption that plagues football.”
Lekjaa defended the Moroccan federation’s choice of teams to represent Morocco in the Arab Cup. “Our national team was composed only of local players. It is a choice. We gave a chance to these players,” he explained.
Algeria on the other hand chose to be represented in the Arab Cup with a formation of players from its national football team, with “its selection including Benayada, M’bolhi, Benlamri, Beleili, Brahimi, Bounedjah, and Bendebka. Only Mahrez and Bennacer were missing,” the FRMF president explained.
Algeria’s futile attempt to paint Morocco’s football governing body and its leadership as corrupt is ill-timed and bound to be little consequence, as the FFMF and its president have brought Morocco, for the first time for any Arab country, to the quarter-final of the Qatar 2022 World Cup; an achievement widely celebrated expect for Algeria. Morocco’s historic World Cup achievement was met with a media blackout in Algeria.
Not the first time
Algeria’s obsession with tarnishing the reputation of all things Morocco-related is no longer news. For years now, the country has chosen to lock itself in a one-sided feud with Morocco, taking aim at the country’s legitimacy, territorial integrity, and leadership unhinged with context.
In January, Algeria took its hostility against Morocco to a new level and refused to allow Morocco’s team to compete in the African Nations Championship (CHAN).
What’s more, the Algerian regime used the sporting event to push for its anti-Morocco political agenda as they invited Nelson Mandela’s grandson to deliver an opening speech that questioned Morocco’s territorial integrity.
The act was met with widespread outrage as observers from across the Arab world took issue with Algeria’s weaponizing of sporting events for political gains.