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Latest update : 2009-11-18

Algeria became the last African nation to qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa with a 1-0 win over Egypt in their sudden-death play-off in Sudan.

REUTERS - Sudan clamped down on security on Wednesday as Algerian fans celebrated victory in a tense match against Egypt which clinched Africa's last place in the 2010 World Cup finals.

Thousands of Egyptian and Algerian fans flew in for the play-off in Khartoum which Algeria won 1-0. Police feared a repeat of violence around Saturday's match between the two rivals in Cairo, when 20 Algerian fans were injured and three players suffered cuts after Egyptians stoned their team bus.

Jubilant Algerians waved flags and fireworks, cheering their first qualification for the World Cup finals in almost quarter of a century.

"In Sudan the team was welcomed, they felt safe, that's why they got the result ... This is a justification," said one Algerian fan called Mohamed.

A single goal from Antar Yahia secured Algeria's trip to South Africa next year in a tough match marked by many fouls.

At least five fans were stretchered away with injuries during celebrations, witnesses said.

Westerners and U.N. staff were urged to stay well away from the stadium as 15,000 extra police kept tight control over 35,000 supporters in Khartoum's Al Merreikh stadium.

Heavily armed security forces fired tear gas to chase away thousands of Sudanese fans waiting outside, witnesses said.

Egyptian fans filed quietly out of the stadium.

Residents feared violence could follow the match but police stationed themselves throughout the capital.


Algerian Minister of National Solidarity Djamal Ould Abbes called the Cairo violence "unacceptable and uncivilised", and called on the governing body to take action.

"FIFA must suspend Egypt for one or two years from any match," he told Reuters. "Shame, shame, shame."

However, Algerian coach Rabah Saadane told Reuters the team had recovered mentally from the Cairo incident.

In Khartoum, some Algerians said they wanted revenge and others made threatening gestures at Egyptian supporters. In the stadium, Algerians taunted their opponents with posters saying "Misrael", a mixture of the Arabic words for Egypt and Israel.

Hospital sources said fans had been treated for minor injuries in Khartoum as scuffles broke out before the match.

The bitterness between the two nations over the Cairo violence spilled over into officialdom with Algeria's minister of sport calling it "a wound ... for the Arab world."

At Sudan's Presidential Palace, the head of Algeria's football association publicly rejected a peaceful overture from his Egyptian counterpart, walking away from Samir Zahir who proposed to kiss him to put the troubles behind them.

In the Algerian capital, thousands of people spilled out into the streets as soon as the final whistle was blown.

Traffic came to a standstill at one roundabout as people jumped out of their cars and danced in the street.

"Our time has come again," said 19-year-old Raissa Boudefer. "We won with our hearts. We won for Algeria."

"We are so happy. It's not so important that we qualified
but the main thing is we beat the Egyptians because they
offended us," said a young woman who gave her name as Yunen.

Algeria last qualified for a World Cup final in 1986, and in
the years after was racked by a conflict between Islamists and
government forces that killed thousands. "It's been 24 years
that we have waited for this," said Mehdi Rozkane.

Date created : 2009-11-18


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