May 11, 2024
May 12, 2024


By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (April 25th 2024)


Algerian commentators found the RS Berkane kit to be provocative. Two days before the first leg match on April 21st Algerian customs at the Houari Boumédiène Airport seized the kits and equipment. The issue was the kit contained a small map of Morocco which included the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara, which Morocco claimed in 1975 after the Spanish left. The following year the Polisario Front declared the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and established a government in exile in Algeria.

Algeria is one of the countries that does not recognise the Moroccan claim to that land. The diplomatic row between the North African neighbours has spilled over into football more than once since Algeria broke off diplomatic ties and banned Morocco’s Airline Royal Air Morocco (RAM) from Algeria’s airspace. That resulted in Morocco, then the defending African Nations Champions refusing to defend their title last year in protest at the refusal of Algerian authorities to allow a direct flight for RAM to Constantine. A compromise was reached for the U17 AFCON which Algeria also hosted last year but sadly the dispute resurfaced again.

The Algerians produced a kit for RS Berkane that contained a map of Morocco without the disputed territory on it. Berkane refused to wear that kit – after all CAF had approved the shirt which had been worn by Berkane in other matches – and did not take to the pitch on April 21st – USM Alger, the defending Confederation Cup champions did.


The Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) had to deal with the mess -it was certain there would be repercussions. USM Alger had little choice in what had happened, but they paid the price. CAF apologised to sponsors and rights holders for the cancelation of the match. CAF awarded the first leg to Berkane 3-0.

The second leg is scheduled to take place in Berkane on Sunday.

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