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Insults, conspiracies, accusations of corruption … Days go by, but nothing seems to be able to ease the tensions aroused by the victory of Cameroon over Algeria (2-1), in Blida, on March 29: the Indomitable Lions snatch the qualification from the World Cup in Qatar thanks to a goal by Karl Toko Ekambi scored in the last seconds of injury time, thus canceling the defeat suffered four days earlier in Douala (0-1).
Quickly, the Algerian Football Association (FAF) had announced the filing with the International Football Association (FIFA) of an appeal concerning the arbitration of Gambian Bakary Gassama, guilty in his eyes of having made bad decisions that led to the elimination of Fennec. Pending the verdict, an almost uninterrupted stream of more or less controversial statements is pouring into the media or social networks.
Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi focused his criticism on Bakary Gassama, indulging in sometimes ambiguous remarks. “Seeing him comfortably settled in the lounges of Algiers airport the day after the game, drinking coffee and eating a yarrow … I’m not saying we should kill him, but not leave him alone”he had thus declared in an interview granted to the press service of the FAF last April 24.
An alleged conspiracy
Observations that aroused great emotion in Gambia, prompting the local federation to file a complaint against him. “If it’s not an appeal to violence, it looks a bit like it”analyzes former Cameroonian international Patrick Mboma. “Belmadi has the right to say that refereeing is bad, but I don’t agree that he attacks Mr. Gassama’s tranquility. It’s a way out for him “ also estimated the Franco-Algerian journalist Nabil Djellit (The group) on Canal +.
If Djamel Belmadi has not spoken publicly about corruption or involved the Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot), others have taken care of it. Journalist Hafid Berradji (BeIN Sports) accused the latter and Bakary Gassama of conspiring against the Algerian national team, assuring that the referee had passed through Morocco before arriving in Algeria to meet the emissaries of Samuel Eto’o, president of the Fecafoot.
Former Algerian international Mohamed Khazrouni said, in the most serious way, on the private channel El-Bilad, that Franco-Moroccan comedian and actor Jamel Debbouze had participated in this alleged plot against Algerian selection, under the pretext “who lives in France, is influential, knows King Mohammed VI, as well as Fouzi Lekjaa, the president of the Moroccan Federation, who could not bear Morocco’s defeat against Algeria in Qatar during the Arab Cup [en décembre 2021] “. Mohamed Khazrouni has even certified that he is in possession of evidence confirming the veracity of these allegations.
“Completely irrational comments”
But some Cameroonians are no less in the area of verbal excess. Thus Sismondi Barlev Bidjocka, director general of the FM radio RIS, came to quote “A trainer of Arab terrorists named Belmadi”. For the moment the latter has not yet replied to Mr. Bidjocka, but some are urging him to file a libel complaint.
“There are people who make completely irrational comments, publicly, on social media or in the spaces dedicated to comments on certain online media. It is heartbreaking and deplorable because, at the base, we are talking about nothing but a football match, certainly important, but about a match ”.complains Patrick Mboma.
This verbal escalation is also conducive to infox and manipulation, as experienced by Rabah Madjer, the legendary forward of the Fennecs (1978-1992). “I have been credited with comments that I have never made about Belmadi. I would have said he lacked discernment, while I’m not talking about national selection. But the damage is done, as this fictional interview has been shot everywhere, and I have to spend some of my time justifying myself.sighs.
From Algiers, the former international and coach Ali Fergani attends, banned, this interminable overtime. “We read and listen to everything and everything, people go too far. He needs to calm down. If FIFA’s investigation of the referee provides evidence that he has been bribed, he will make the necessary decisions. And if not, let’s definitely move on. “