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Algeria plan to airlift fans to Angola for Egypt semi

Algeria football fans
Thousands of Algeria fans flew to Sudan for November's play-off game

The Algerian government says it has plans to airlift hundreds of its fans to Angola for the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final against Egypt.

Thousands of Algerian fans were flown into Sudan last November as they beat Egypt 1-0 in a World Cup play-off game.

The minister of foreign affairs Mourad Medcli says plans are already in place.

"There is already a programme at government level - and not just ideas - to allow hundreds of supporters to travel to Angola," Medcli said.

Very few fans have travelled from outside Angola, so far to support their countries, with the cost of living and difficulty in obtaining visas at short notice proving to be major obstacles.

There will be a lot of tension surrounding Thursday's semi-final in Benguela following the problems that beset two games between the sides in November.

The Algerian team bus was attacked by Egyptian fans in Cairo ahead of a World Cup qualifier that the Pharaohs won 2-0 to force the play-off in Sudan.

Violence also erupted in Khartoum after Algeria's victory in the play-off that saw them qualify for the World Cup in South Africa.

Problems also flared in France, as well as in both Algeria and Egypt.

The problems led to political tensions between the two governments with an Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman saying the Algerian government had a responsibility for the safety of Egyptians living in Algeria.

Everybody will see which is the better team

Egypt striker Mohamed Zidan

Meanwhile Algeria's Hameur Bouazza is relishing another meeting with the African champions.

The 24-year-old, who plays for English second-tier club Blackpool, headed the extra-time winner that toppled title favourites Ivory Coast on Sunday.

"It is great playing Egypt again as it offers us a chance to prove we beat them fairly and not through luck," he said.

"We won through hard work and because we have a lot of talented players," he said, referring to the 1-0 play-off victory courtesy of a late first-half goal from defender Antar Yahia.

"This team has got real character and team spirit is probably our greatest strength.

"Matches are won by happy players and that is the case with us," he said.

"I am convinced we can do something special in Angola."

Egypt and Borussia Dortmund striker Mohamed Zidan wants to show that the Pharaohs should be at the World Cup rather than Algeria.

"For us it is a chance to show the world that we deserve to go to the World Cup and if we beat them, we will be able to watch the World Cup with pride," he said.

"We are the ones who do not have any pressure. We are the champions and we are better than them.

"Everybody will see which is the better team."

Egypt are on course for a record seventh Nations Cup title in Angola after they won the continental trophy in 1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006 and 2008.

But despite their dominance in Africa the Pharaoh's have only qualified twice for the World Cup with their last appearance coming in Italy in 1990.

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see also
Gaddafi 'to mediate' football row
24 Nov 09 |  Middle East
Riot over Egypt football defeat
20 Nov 09 |  Middle East
Egypt recalls envoy from Algeria
19 Nov 09 |  Middle East
Yahia sends Algeria to World Cup
18 Nov 09 |  African
Lemmouchia unhappy game was played
16 Nov 09 |  African
Tensions over Egypt 2010 victory
15 Nov 09 |  Africa
Egypt and Algeria in play-off
14 Nov 09 |  African

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