CAF President, Motsepe helpless in the Algeria-Morocco diplomatic spat

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CAF president, Patrice Motsepe, facing easily the most challenging intrigue in his close to two-year presidency in CAF has been helpless in the attempt to solve the politically-motivated spat between Morocco and Algeria.

He remarked that he  recognized the situation as a “blockade,” emphasizing that he did the best he could to allow the Atlas Lions to travel to Constantine for CHAN.

In a statement to the press in Sale near Rabat, Motsepe said he did “everything possible” to convince Algerian authorities to issue permits to allow a Royal Air Maroc flight to carry the Atlas Lions  from Rabat to Constantine to take part in the continental tournament.

“It makes me sad. I want Morocco in Algeria. I want these young boys to represent the people of Morocco and the people of Africa,” he told the press.

Motsepe arrived in Morocco today to take part in the FIFA Club World Cup draw, which took place at the Mohammed VI Academy in Sale in the presence of FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

Regretting the lack of response from Algeria, Motsepe acknowledged Algeria’s reluctance to issue permission  for Morocco as a “blockade.”

“I recognized it as a blockade. I said, Allow them to come. But they said it is a sovereign matter, we are dealing with this issue,” he said.

He added that Algerian officials, including Foreign Affairs Minister Ramtane Lamamra and Head of State Abdelmadjid Tebboune claimed that they want the national team to arrive in Algeria to participate in the tournament.

“The minister of foreign affairs of Algeria, the government of Algeria, head of state of Algeria said we want Morocco, we want them to play, we want them to come to Algeria and we will give them the best of hospitality, they are our brothers,” Motsepe said.

Morocco’s national football team went to the Rabat-Sale international airport waiting to fly to Constantine pending an official response from Algeria.

Converging reports have since detailed that a bus carrying the Atlas Lions has left the airport amid the absence of a response.

Morocco’s Football Federation (FRMF) stressed that the U23 national team will only participate in the tournament if a direct flight carries the Atlas Lions from Rabat to Constantine.

FRMF emphasized that Royal Air Maroc is the official carrier of the national team, stressing that the host country “should facilitate” the participation of the Moroccan squad.

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