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Press alarm at Egypt-Algeria football violence

An Egyptian fan ignites a canister of insect spray as he and others celebrate Egypt's 2-0 win
Security will be high for the match

The press in the Middle East and North Africa has reacted with alarm to the growing tensions surrounding the Algeria-Egypt football match being played on Wednesday evening.

The two countries will contest a play-off to qualify for next year's World Cup in Khartoum. The match was moved to neutral ground after violence marred the first leg in Cairo.

The regional press questioned why a football match should turn two Arab nations against each other. Commentators highlighted football as a means by which disaffected sectors of the population could vent their frustration with society. There was also widespread criticism of the inflammatory language employed by the media on both sides.

OMAR BENDURRA IN LE QUOTIDIEN D'ALGERIE

Everything is done to maintain, in both Egypt and Algeria, an unhealthy climate in which the anger and frustration of the youth find an easy outlet [in football]. It is truly extraordinary that no voice has been raised to appeal for calm and to reiterate that this is just a game. On the contrary, the media in both countries... have dramatised the event absurdly.

EDITORIAL IN EGYPT'S AL-AHRAM

Relations between [Egypt and Algeria] are stronger and deeper than a mere football match. These are relations based on blood, religion, culture and civilisation... Despite the attacks on Egyptians in Algeria and rumours of attacks on Algerians in Egypt, Egyptian-Algerian relations will be unaffected.

SA'AD BU-UQBA IN ALGERIA'S AL-FADJR

The Egyptian satellite stations achieved the goal set by their security forces, to terrorise Algerians and incite Egyptians against Algeria. Now they are trying to calm the situation.

JAMAL MIKKAWI IN EGYPT'S AL-JUMHURIYAH

The national football team has become the most effective means of uniting the people of different political or social inclinations. I hope that the match [against Algeria] will unite the Egyptian people.

AHMAD ZIBIAN IN JORDAN'S AL-RA'Y

A Sudanese policeman controls a line of Egyptian and Sudanese fans as they try to get tickets for the World Cup
Fans descended on the Egyptian embassy in Khartoum for tickets

The Arab masses are frustrated by political life, the failure to face external challenges, the fiasco in development and internal reform and the absence of participation in governance. The regimes have entrenched authoritarianism and a culture of fear... so many people turn to sports, and football in particular, for an outlet.

ABD-AL-RAHMAN BAJJASH IN YEMEN'S AL-THAWRAH

Where are the sensible people in this Arab world? One football match took us back to acting like tribes, but we cannot even comply with tribal regulations

WA'IL ABD-AL-FATTAH IN LEBANON'S AL-AKHBAR

In a world that does not want war, sports have become a relatively safe battlefield... [but] this obsession can turn into war and conflict if presidents join the demagoguery.

MUHAMMAD ZAIN AL-AIDRUS IN KUWAIT'S AL-SIYASSAH

Will today's game between Algeria and Egypt in Khartoum turn into a military battle? The Algerians' slogan is "victory or death" ... [while] the Egyptian media asked its players to call upon the spirit of October [1973 war against Israel].

MUSTAFA YUSUF AL-LIDDAWI IN IRAN'S AL-VEFAGH

Egypt has put Gaza in a bind... [and] made loyalty to the Egyptian team equivalent to loyalty to Egypt... while the Algerians have asked Gazans to support them, since they stand by the Palestinian people.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.



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SEE ALSO
Verbal war over Egypt-Algeria tie
17 Nov 09 |  Africa
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