Prior to the African Cup of Nations, the ANP promised to dedicate 6 military planes to transport Algerian football fans to and from Cairo. It seems that these were empty promises.
Rabat – Images posted on social media have revealed another side to the Algerian People’s National Armed Forces’ (ANP) promises of “full coverage” for football fans’ flights. Images of Algerian supporters sleeping rough in the streets of Cairo are now circulating online.
Upon Algeria’s qualification to the African Cup of Nations’ finals (CAN), the (ANP) quoted by TSA, announced that it would reserve 6 military planes for the event. The ANP said that transport would be available for the fixed price of DA 35,000 ($293.16) per person.
According to a statement from the Ministry of National Defense (MDN), “the High Command of the National People’s Army decided, in coordination with the Prime Minister, to provide six military planes to transport 600 Algerian supporters to encourage the national team.”
The offer obviously interested thousands of football fans and almost 5,000 supporters flew to the Egyptian capital in 48 hours.
Following Algeria’s triumph in CAN 2019, a video posted on Youtube showed a crowd of angry fans stuck at the airport. “Thousands of fans, who attended the competition’ s final could not find seats in the return flights to the country, families and even babies are laying on the airport’s floor,” said one of the supporters.
“The images of our citizens sleeping inside the Cairo airport, under the pitying gaze of the passengers, are distressing,” described another supporter.
“We are on our own, without any assistance from the consulate or the embassy, people are making fun of us, we feel worthless,” said an Algerian passenger. “I planned to spend a day in Egypt and go back home; I have no money, no food, you have to make sure we get home, just like you brought us here,” complained another.
Internet users have also shared videos of scenes of jostling or even clashes with the Egyptian police, overwhelmed by an impressive number of supporters.
Amine Andaloussi, director of communication at Air Algérie, told Algérie 360 that 3,000 people did not respect their dates of return. He specified that “in addition to fans who already made reservations through travel agencies, this significant number of late travelers also needed return flights.”
“The company has mobilized 21 flights for July 20 and 7 flights for July 21, in addition to 2 others scheduled for the night from Sunday to Monday,” he added, pledging to repatriate all Algerian nationals, stuck in Cairo.
Meanwhile, Gaid Salah sent a congratulatory message to the Air Force staff unaware of the distress experienced by Algerian fans who had been trapped for a whole weekend at the Cairo airport.
Gaid Salah said, in his message, “you were the cement that consolidated the Army-Nation bond, both in difficult times, in joy, and in exploits.”