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11 v 11

By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (April 21st 2024)


Zamalek SC’s Portuguese coach José Gomes stressed that while Dreams FC is a comparatively new team, and that gave Zamalek an advantage – this is the first time Dreams have progressed this far in a CAF continental competition in their 15 year history – it was still going to be eleven against eleven.

He warned that complacency would cost his team and that would not be allowed to happen even though Zamalek will be without their best player, Zizo.

His opposite number, Abdul Karim Zito pointed out that even though his team lacks the history of Zamalek, and Al Ahly, they recently beat Ghana’s Asante Kotoko, a team Zito played for years ago.

Zito does not see the lack of experience at this level as a problem. It’s eleven against eleven.


The other semi final was mired in controversy as Morocco’s RS Berkane was kept at Houari Boumédiène Airport in Algiers after Algerian officials seized equipment and the team’s kit because it had a map of Morocco that included the former Spanish Sahara – Algeria does not recognise Morocco’s claim to the territory.

Berkane has been stuck at the airport demanding the return of their kits and equipment. Yesterday, the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) made it clear that the kits and equipment had to be returned.

The recent strife between Algeria and Morocco spilled over into football at the African Nations Championship (CHAN), which culminated in Morocco’s withdrawal despite being the reigning champions. It is a pity that much older football solidarity between these nations has all but been lost to history.

Algerian footballers, based in France, sacrificed their chance to go to the World Cup in 1958, choosing to leave their teams and represent Algeria’s struggle for independence through their football. The FLN Team became Algeria’s national team in 1962. Only one opponent was banned by FIFA for playing against them – that was Morocco.

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