The global popularity that football is enjoying today has turned it into a field where political, economic and social interests interact, thus making the organs supervising this sport gain a power that many international organizations do not have. This popularity has also been influenced by politics, as it often contributed to increased tension in political relations between some countries, especially in Latin America where people love football very much. In the Arab world, football fans have sympathized with the Algerian national team, because it was the first Arab team to go beyond the myth of major teams when they defeated Germany in the World Cup 1982.
As for the Arab Maghreb, when the team of one of the countries is excluded, its fans turn to supporting the Maghreb team that is still in the competition.
This behavior is regulated by multiple factors, including the common past, identity and culture of these countries. Therefore, football can probably contribute in restoring warm relations between Morocco and Algeria.
Football is indeed a bridge between the two countries since there is a constant mobility among their respective teams. As a matter of fact, many Algerian coaches and players have joined Moroccan teams, and have rendered outstanding services to them. However, the politicization of sports, as happened in 1979 during a game in the knock-out phase between Morocco and Algeria, with to the use of the media as an emotional tool to transform a common sports game into a real battle, has proved that politicians can use all possible means to expand their circle. That game was in fact considered a war between politicians, rather than a game ruled by honest athletic competition, given the major unprecedented changes in management bodies right after the game, that took place for the first time in the history of Moroccan sports.
In light of the current political relations existing between Morocco and Algeria, it is certain that all the dynamics taking place in other areas could fall behind to allow political dominance and submission to the use that politics want. While the economy is a hub of political rapprochement in other corners around the globe, like Europe, the case is totally different in the Arab Maghreb where the equation requires that the political rapprochement occurs first, only to pump life in other fields afterwards. This equation condemns all other types of rapprochement to remain fragile and merely circumstantial.
Let’s dare to say that building a real rapprochement bridge between Morocco and Algeria starts first by looking to the future, and abandoning all stereotypes that were created in the past by both parties against each other. Secondly, let’s look at the geography of the region, which brings the two countries together, by not imposing any natural barriers between them. And thirdly, we should be able to list the benefits of rapprochement, and the losses occurred and still occurring due to separation.
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