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Insults, conspiracy, accusations of corruption… Days go by, but nothing seems to be able to ease the tensions aroused by Cameroon’s victory against Algeria (2-1), in Blida, on March 29: the Indomitable Lions snatched their qualification for the World Cup in Qatar thanks to a goal by Karl Toko Ekambi scored in the last seconds of added time, thus erasing the defeat conceded four days earlier in Douala (0-1).
Quickly, the Algerian Football Federation (FAF) had announced the filing with the International Football Federation (FIFA) of an appeal concerning the arbitration of the Gambian Bakary Gassama, guilty in his eyes of having made bad decisions. which resulted in the elimination of the Fennecs. While awaiting the verdict, an almost uninterrupted stream of more or less controversial statements is pouring into the media or on social networks.
Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi focused his criticism on Bakary Gassama, indulging in sometimes ambiguous remarks. “To see him comfortably installed in the lounges of Algiers airport the day after the match, drinking coffee and eating a mille-feuille… I’m not saying that we should kill him, but we shouldn’t leave him alone”he had thus declared in an interview granted to the press service of the FAF on April 24.
A supposed conspiracy
Remarks that aroused great emotion in The Gambia, prompting the local federation to file a complaint against him. “If it’s not a call for violence, it looks a bit like it”analyzes the former Cameroonian international Patrick Mboma. “Belmadi has the right to say that the refereeing is bad, but I don’t agree that he attacks Mr. Gassama’s peace of mind. It’s a way out of the way on his part “ also estimated the Franco-Algerian journalist Nabil Djellit (The Team) on Canal+.
If Djamel Belmadi has not publicly spoken of corruption nor implicated the Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot), others have taken care of it. Journalist Hafid Berradji (BeIN Sports) accused the latter and Bakary Gassama of having conspired against the Algerian national team, assuring that the referee had passed through Morocco before arriving in Algeria to meet emissaries of Samuel Eto’o, the president of Fecafoot.
The former Algerian international Mohamed Khazrouni affirmed, in the most serious way, on the private channel El-Bilad, that the comedian and Franco-Moroccan actor Jamel Debbouze had participated in this supposed plot against the Algerian selection, under pretext “that he lives in France, is influential, knows King Mohammed VI, as well as Fouzi Lekjaa, the president of the Moroccan Federation, who could not stand Morocco’s defeat against Algeria in Qatar during the Cup Arab [en décembre 2021] “. Mohamed Khazrouni even certified to be in possession of evidence attesting to the veracity of these accusations.
“Completely irrational comments”
But some Cameroonians are not outdone in the area of verbal excess. Thus, Sismondi Barlev Bidjocka, general manager of RIS FM radio, went so far as to mention “an Arab terrorist coach named Belmadi”. For the moment, the latter has not yet replied to Mr. Bidjocka, but some are urging him to file a complaint for defamation.
“There are people who make completely irrational comments, publicly, on social networks or in the spaces dedicated to comments on certain online media. It is heartbreaking and regrettable because, at the base, we are not talking about anything other than a football match, certainly important, but a match ”laments Patrick Mboma.
This verbal escalation is also conducive to infox and manipulation, as experienced by Rabah Madjer, the mythical striker of the Fennecs (1978-1992). “I have been credited with comments that I have never made about Belmadi. I would have said that he lacked discernment, while I do not speak about the national selection. But the damage is done, since this imaginary interview has been taken up everywhere, and I have to spend part of my time justifying myself.he sighs.
From Algiers, the former international and coach Ali Fergani attends, dumbfounded, this interminable additional time. “We read and hear everything and anything, people go too far. It needs to calm down. If FIFA’s investigation into the referee provides evidence that he has been corrupted, it will take the necessary decisions. And if not, let’s definitely move on. »