The scenic city of Algiers will be the capital of African football next Saturday when it hosts the draw ceremony for the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN).
Nicknamed El Bahdja, the Algerian capital will host the ceremony which will officially roll the ball towards the flagship Championship for local based players.
Algiers: The story of a capital at the gates of Africa
Around the 5th century BC, the Phoenicians established a trading post on the bay of Algiers called Icosium. It remained under Roman rule until mid through the fifth century.
Algiers' true identity was established in the 10th century when the Emir Bologhine Ibn Ziri decided to make it his capital and named it in reference to a string of islets that cropped out at the Bay.
It is from this period that Algiers began to play a commercial role in the Mediterranean region.
Around 1510, the Spaniards occupied the Penon Island opposite the port. In 1516, the Amir of Algiers, Selim Teumi, invited the Barbarossa brothers to expel the Spaniards and Algiers declared itself a vassal of the Ottoman Empire.
In July 1830, the city was taken by the French and it soon became the government's headquarters and military and administrative buildings were set up there, and the city began to grow.
From 1954 to 1962, the Algerian capital became the main center of the struggle for independence led by the National Liberation Front (FLN). The 'Battle of Algiers' in 1957 marked the turning point for the struggle of independence.
Algiers has grown to become a Mediterranean city full of history with its strategic location at the gates of Africa with monuments that give a remarkable touch such as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Africa, the Great Mosque of Algiers, the Kasbah district or Makam Echahid.
Algiers, the pinnacle of African football excellence
In footballing royalty, Algiers is also the stronghold of historic clubs such as Mouloudia Club of Algiers (MCA), USMA and CR Belouizdad. The latter, three-time reigning Algerian champion remains one of the best local clubs in recent years with talented players, and is now aiming to win the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League this year.
MC Alger, which celebrated 101 years of existence this year became the first Algerian club to win the CAF Champoions League in 1976. Alongside USM Alger, they are located in the Bab El Oued district.
Derbies between the two clubs attract large numbers of fans at the 5th of July stadium. Moreover, the Algerian derby is ranked among the best in the world.
The two clubs have continuously fed many players to the national team.
Algeria hosting Continental football for the second time
For the second time in its history, Algeria will host a major Continental showpiece. The last time they did so was in 1990 when they hosted the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, winning it for the first time ever.
Thirty two years later, they will host yet another major showpiece and expect to organize a successful event, especially just after hosting the 19th edition of the Mediterranean Games last summer in Oran.
Les fennecs have also played at the FIFA World Cup four times; 1982 in Spain, 1986 in Mexico, 2010 in South Africa and 2014 in Brazil where they marked history by qualifying to the round of 16 for the first time ever.
Impressive infrastructure awaits CHAN 2023
The Algerian capital has massively developed over the years with modern infrastructure worthy of hosting major tournaments in existence. The Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran and the new Baraki stadium which will be inaugurated just a few weeks before the opening ceremony are some of the amenities Algiers boasts of.
Algeria, and by extension the capital Algiers will unleash its beauty when it opens its doors to 16 qualified teams for the CHAN next January, where the cream of local based players will have only one goal; to shine and make Africa proud.