News Desk |
Celebrations in Doha started Saturday night following Algeria’s victory over Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations final held in Egypt. The victory is being largely attributed to Baghdad Bounedjah, a prolific striker for Qatari club Al Sadd, who propelled Algeria to their second Africa Cup of Nations title.
President of the Qatar Olympic Committee, Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani congratulated Algeria via twitter on its remarkable win. Congratulations also poured in from Al Sadd, where Baghdad Bounedjah plays club football, and from the Ministry of Culture and Sports.
Qatar withdrew from its membership of OPEC in January 2019 due to the dominance of the Saudi-Emirati axis on the regional body.
A large number of people led by members of the Algerian community in Qatar turned up at Ali Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah Arena to watch the live telecast of the final on giant screens.
Second win for Algeria since 1990
The CAF Africa Cup of Nations, officially CAN, is the main international association football competition in Africa. It is sanctioned by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and was first held in 1957. Since 1968, it has been held every two years. The title holders at the time of a FIFA Confederations Cup qualify for the competition.
Congratulations also poured in from Al Sadd, where Baghdad Bounedjah plays club football, and from the Ministry of Culture and Sports.
Algeria, a strong contender in 1982 and 1986 World Cup appearances, had the final against the hosts, Nigeria, in the 1980 tournament allowing the super eagles to capture their first championship. After the 1980 edition, Algeria reached the semi finals of every edition except the 1986 cup until they eventually won the competition in 1990.
This year’s win is Algeria’s second win since 1990; it is being described as a historic win as half of the population is under 30 and viewers were not yet born when Algeria’s squad won its first African trophy back in 1990.
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Qatari ties with Algeria
The two ‘brother’ states have a long-standing yet ambivalent relationship. The former Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has been known to have long admired the Algerian struggle for their liberation, as well as the country’s diplomatic ambitions on the international scene in the 1960s and 1970s.
Moreover, Qatar has long been considered one of Algeria’s main Arab allies, and before the Arab Spring the Damascus-Doha-Algiers alliance was a powerful counterweight to the Riyadh-Cairo axis. Moreover, within the Arab League, Algeria and Qatar often found themselves similarly placed on major issues such as Palestine.
Nigeria, in the 1980 tournament allowing the super eagles to capture their first championship.
Economic relations between the two countries are also good, and the emirate is home to a wide diaspora of Algerians who work in many sectors. In addition, the former head of the Algerian State, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has had cordial ties with the Gulf State since he spent a long part of his exile there in the 1980s.
The meeting of the fifth session of the joint Committee of the Supreme Qatari-Algerian held on 23-24 November 2014 in Doha marked finalization of several agreements on cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, industry, mining, investment, agriculture and tourism, and in the field of health Sports and Urban Planning, and in the legal and judicial field and in the customs sector were signed.
Beyond these factors, relations between Algeria and Qatar have obviously been largely dominated by energy interests, including the security of their common interests within OPEC. However, Qatar withdrew from its membership of OPEC in January 2019 due to the dominance of the Saudi-Emirati axis on the regional body.
Qatar continues to be under an economic and political boycott by the Saudi-Emirati-dominated bloc over alleged support to Islamist groups; an accusation denied by Qatar. The Saudi-dominated axis had also accused Qatar for using Al-Jazeera, a Qatari based news agency, for reporting the kingdom’s human rights abuse record and also had reservations with Qatar for its cordial ties with Iran, a Saudi-arch rival.
Algeria’s Balancing Act
In the wake of the announcement of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen to cut relations with Qatar, Algeria issued a statement urging the countries concerned to pursue dialogue as the only way to resolve the dispute, warning that the crisis would affect the unity and integrity of the Arab region.
Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi, the Qatari State Minister for Foreign Affairs hailed Algeria’s “honorable” position of calling for dialogue to resolve the crisis between some Arab countries and Qatar during his visit to Algeria in 2017.