More to Egypt riots than football

“The chauvinistic brand of nationalism that swept across Egypt last week – the violent fringe of which saw riots outside the Algerian embassy in Cairo – really isn’t about the football, despite what Joseph Mayton says in his Cif article yesterday. The spark was a football match, certainly, but Mayton’s contention that depressed Egyptians were simply ‘unable to deal with the fact that even on the football pitch, they cannot achieve success’ does not tell the whole story.” (Guardian)

Egypt-Algeria World Cup violence used to rally support for Mubarak regime
“Street-level clashes between fans that began over a soccer game between Algeria and Egypt last week have escalated into an international diplomatic incident that goes to the core of Egypt’s identity and its waning role as Mideast powerbroker. Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi announced today he would accept an Arab League request to mediate in the escalating conflict between the two states after Algeria beat Egypt for the last African slot in next summer’s World Cup.” (CS Monitor)

Efforts to Defuse Tensions Between Algeria and Egypt
“As readers of The Lede will be aware, North Africa has been facing a new source of strife in recent weeks — soccer. Last Wednesday, after the Egyptian national soccer team lost its World Cup bid to rival Algeria 1-0 in Sudan, 32 police officers and 21 Egyptian fans were reportedly injured in violence. The next day, Egyptian demonstrations outside the Algerian embassy in Cairo turned violent.” (NYT)

Gaddafi ‘to mediate’ in Egypt-Algeria football row >
“Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has agreed to mediate between Algeria and Egypt in an increasingly heated row over football, state media say. Libyan news agency Jana reported that the Arab League had asked Col Gaddafi to intercede between the two nations. Each side accused the other’s fans of violent attacks after last week’s vital World Cup play-off, which Algeria won. Meanwhile, about 150 Egyptian and Algerian academics and intellectuals issued an appeal to defuse the row.” (BBC)

African view: Not just a game
“In our series of viewpoints from African journalists, Zimbabwean filmmaker and journalist Farai Sevenzo asks whether football has not grown too big for its boots. I don’t know about you but my last two weeks have been dominated by sports. Watching it not playing it, because I haven’t become a fitness fanatic nor am I addicted to the gym and I remain resolutely lazy when it comes to kicking up a sweat unless it is for pleasure. But with 198 days and counting down to the Football World Cup in South Africa, the season of inexplicable nationalism and outrageous passion is upon us.” (BBC)

30 seconds with referee Jerome Damon
“Jerome Damon of Cape Town has grown in stature since making his debut as a professional soccer referee in 1996. Now a member of the Caf and Fifa refereeing panels, he has officiated in three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, in Tunisia (2004), Egypt (2006) and Ghana last year. A fourth official at the 2006 World Cup, he held centre stage in the World Cup qualifier between Egypt and Algeria at the Cairo Stadium last Saturday.” (TimesLive)

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