The Algerian Minister of Youth and Sports has announced his country's official support for Morocco's bid to host the World Cup in 2026. El Hadi Ould Ali made the statement at the weekend on a working visit to the province of El Bayadh, south of Algeria.
"The decision of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to support the candidacy of Morocco to host the 2026 world cup finals will be proudly fulfilled," he told reporters. The Algerian support was largely welcomed on social media by Algerian and Moroccan football fans, despite it coming amid political tensions and a fierce rivalry between the two North African countries.
Moroccan authorities had earlier approached former Algerian football star Lakhdar Belloumi to be an ambassador for their bid, along with other African football legends including Samuel Eto'o, Didier Drogba and El Hadji Diouf.
Belloumi had told Jeune Afrique magazine that he was happy to accept the role, saying "Algeria and Morocco are neighbours and brothers. I believe all Algerians hope that Morocco wins the bid and hosts a great football event.'
The hosts for the 2026 World Cup will be decided in Russia on 13 June.