Algeria nixes soccer match over Ghana’s Israeli coach
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Algeria nixes soccer match over Ghana’s Israeli coach

Despite the two national teams having played previously, Avram Grant was apparently unwelcome in the Arab country

Ghana's midfielder Andre Ayew (L) speaks to coach Avram Grant during the 2015 African Cup of Nations final soccer match between Ivory Coast and Ghana in Bata on February 8, 2015 (photo credit: AFP/CARL DE SOUZA)
Ghana's midfielder Andre Ayew (L) speaks to coach Avram Grant during the 2015 African Cup of Nations final soccer match between Ivory Coast and Ghana in Bata on February 8, 2015 (photo credit: AFP/CARL DE SOUZA)

Algeria’s soccer team pulled out of a friendly match with Ghana because the latter has an Israeli head coach, a Ghanaian website reported Tuesday, quoting the Algerian media.

According to the report on pulse.com.gh, the Algerian team dropped out of the match to ensure that Avram Grant did not enter the country.

“The Algerian national team canceled the friendly match with Ghana because it refused to host Ghana’s Israeli coach, Avraham (sic) Grant,” Algerian journalist Ayman Gada confirmed on Facebook.

Grant, who formerly coached English soccer giant Chelsea, has been in Ghana for the past two years. He was the coach of the Israeli national team from 2002 to 2006.

Algerian soccer fans cheer for Palestine in friendly match between the two countries February 17, 2016 (Screen capture: YouTube)
Algerian soccer fans cheer for Palestine in friendly match between the two countries February 17, 2016 (Screen capture: YouTube)

Algeria last played Ghana in 2015’s Africa Cup of Nations, when Grant’s team won 1-0.

Algeria has long been a supporter of the Palestinian cause, and some Palestinians view Algeria’s struggle for independence from France as a model for their own struggle.

Algeria used to have more than 100,000 Jews, but the vast majority of them left after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and during the country’s bloody war of independence against France.

Algeria has a mixed attitude toward Jews. In 2014 the country announced it would reopen synagogues that had been closed since the 1990s. However in 2015 Algerian Islamists called for attacks on Jews and later that year a video surfaced of Algerian troops marching to chants about murdering Jews.

Algeria came fourth on a list of the world’s most anti-Semitic countries.

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