Egypt recalls Algiers envoy after soccer loss

10:54, November 20, 2009      

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Egyptian demonstrators protest near the Algerian embassy in Cairo November 19, 2009, after Algeria defeated Egypt in their 2010 World Cup qualifying playoff soccer match. (chinadaily.com.cn/Agencies)
CAIRO: Egypt recalled its ambassador from Algiers for consultations on Thursday after Egypt's soccer team lost to rival Algeria in a play-off to reach the World Cup finals, accusing its fans of post-match thuggery.

The move is the latest in a tit-for-tat spat between the North African countries about minor violence surrounding World Cup qualifying matches played on Saturday in Egypt, and on Wednesday in Sudan.

Egypt's state-run EGYNews website said Cairo was recalling its ambassador over violence against Egyptians after Wednesday's match that Egypt has blamed on Algerian fans.

About 2,000 protestors, some burning Algerian flags, gathered near Algeria's embassy in Cairo late on Thursday to protest what they said was violence against their compatriots and called for the Algerian envoy to leave, witnesses said.

A Reuters witness said two police pick-up vans were damaged, one had been overturned by protesters with windows smashed. Other protesters scuffled with police using teargas to disperse the crowd and block them from reaching the embassy.

Such protests are rare in Egypt where demonstrations are usually small and swiftly contained by police.

Egypt won Saturday's game 2-0 in Cairo, scoring their second goal deep into stoppage time, to leave the two teams level at the top of African qualifying Group C.

That set up Wednesday's playoff in Khartoum, selected by Egypt when they won a draw to choose the venue.

Algeria won 1-0 to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa next year, their first appearance at the finals since 1986.

Even before the Sudan playoff, Egypt had complained when Algerian fans trashed the Algiers headquarters of Egypt-based Orascom Telecom's Djezzy mobile subsidiary.

Egypt was further angered when Algerian tax authorities hit Djezzy with a $596.6 million bill for outstanding taxes.

Before that, Algeria was irked after Egyptian fans pelted the Algerian team's bus with stones and some fans were hurt in scuffles on game-day in the Cairo qualifier.


Egyptian demonstrators protest near the Algerian embassy in Cairo November 19, 2009, after Algeria defeated Egypt in their 2010 World Cup qualifying playoff soccer match. [Agencies]


chinadaily.com.cn/Agencies
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