23.09.2019 Football News

Algeria Set To Play Friendly In France After 11 Years

Algeria Set To Play Friendly In France After 11 Years
LISTEN SEP 23, 2019

African champions Algeria are to play a match in France for the first time in 11 years when they meet Colombia in Lille on October 15.

There has been an unofficial moratorium on Algeria playing in France for fears of public disorder

The friendly with Colombia will, therefore, be an opportunity for the large Algerian community in France to salute the team in the wake of their success in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Algeria regularly hosted profitable friendly games around France for five years from 2003 but last played in France in a friendly against Mali in Rouen in late 2008.

The north African side have passionate supporters among the diaspora and thousands came out on the streets of Paris and Marseille to celebrate Algerian success at July's Nations Cup.

If the match against Colombia goes off without major incident, it could hasten the finalising of a high profile, and likely highly charged, friendly between Algeria and France.

The only previous meeting between the colonial power and an independent Algeria ended in chaos when dozens of young Algerian supporters invaded the Stade de France pitch in Paris, causing the 2001 friendly international to be abandoned with France leading 4-1 some 11 minutes from the end.

The jeering of the French national anthem 'La Marseillaise' before the game became an emotive issue in the wake of the game, drawing widespread criticism, but also highlighting the enmity many young north Africans growing up in France feel towards the French state and society.

In the wake of Algeria's Cup of Nations success, a return meeting with the World Cup winners has again been mooted, and an unofficial invitation extended to France to play in Algeria for the first time.

It is an idea that has been positively received by influential French Football Federation president Noel Le Graët.

"Ever since I'm here (as president of FFF), I've wanted to go to Algeria. It's the only country we have not played against," he told reporters earlier this month.

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