CRANS MONTANA, Switzerland (Reuters) - Algeria coach Rabah Saadane criticised on Wednesday what he described as the inadequate punishment handed out to Egypt after an attack on his team’s bus before November’s World Cup qualifier in Cairo.
Egypt were fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($88,160) for incidents before and after their match at home to the Algerians on November 14. They were ordered to play their first two matches in the 2014 World Cup qualifying tournament at least 100 kms outside Cairo.
Saadane, whose team are training in Switzerland ahead of the 2010 World Cup, told Reuters the punishment was not adequate considering the degree of violence his team had suffered.
“Sincerely, we have to respect it because it’s FIFA’s decision, I’m not sure it really reflects what we went through and the damage to the bus for example,” he said in an interview before a training session.
“Certainly it’s not satisfactory, but now that we’re in the World Cup, it’s over, it doesn’t matter.”
Four members of the Algerian delegation, including three players, were injured in the attack.
Egypt won 2-0 to leave both teams level on points, goal difference and goals scored at the top of African Group C. Algeria won a playoff in Khartoum 1-0.
FIFA said the Egyptians had failed to put in place proper security measures and also found them guilty of overcrowding at the Cairo International Stadium and detaining the Algerian bus for over 45 minutes after the end.
It was the latest twist to a long-running soccer feud between the two nations, which stretches back to a World Cup qualifier 20 years ago in Cairo, when Egypt won 1-0 to guarantee a place at the 1990 finals in Italy.
Players clashed on the field after the game and the Egyptian team doctor was partially blinded.
Egypt then threatened to pull out of the following year’s African Nations Cup in Algeria. They eventually sent a B team and lost all three group games.
Saadane said it was up to the Egyptians to end the tension.
“I think it’s up to the Egyptian political leaders,” he said. “They’re the ones who have created all this controversy, I think they should make an effort, to apologise to Algeria.”
But he was optimistic differences could be put aside.
“Football is there to bring people together, not war. I think that through football we can reconciliate, maybe it’s just a question of time.”
(Editing by John Mehaffey;
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