By Muambo Edward
Football Writer, kick442.com -Cameroon
At a time that the world has been brought down to its knees by a dreaded virus, at a time that people are losing their lives and means of livelihood as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, there is no better remedy than collective action to fight the invisible enemy that is fast bringing the world to a standstill.
The North African football stakeholders are leading the way, showing what strength there is unity in the face of a common enemy.
In Egypt for example, the bitter rivalry between Cairo giants Al Ahly and Zamalek is now secondary, as players of both clubs are uniting forces to fight a common enemy.
Al Ahly’s defender Saad Sameer has launched what is known as the #good_challenge initiative under which the defender has announced to look after 20 families till the end of the crisis, challenging players from both Cairo giants to follow suit.
His call was heard as players from both clubs and beyond have signed up to the initiative. Ahmed Fathy, Tarek Hamed, Mahmoud Kahraba, Mohamed El-Shenawy, Wael Gomaa, Amr El Solia, Sherif Ekramy, Mido, Trezaguet, Ahmed Hegazi, Shikabala and Ahmed Hassan have all joint in the initiative. Hundreds and even thousands of Egyptian families are now benefiting from the initiative started by Saad Sameer.
This demonstrates the strength of unity when it comes to a common enemy, after all there is more to life than football.
In Algeria, former Algerian international winger Rafik Saifi took the lead. He called on all current and former Algeria international footballers, to help finance Algerian hospitals.
Many Algerian players have responded favorably to his call, notably, almost the entire squad that lifted the 2019 AFCON trophy as well as other big names like, Carl Medjani, Ramy Bensebaini and Yacine Brahimi.
Apart from Saifi’s call, other players have been busy as well. Salim Boukhenchouche, Andria, Abdelmoumene Djabou and several other players in the Algerian domestic championships, have individually decided to sponsor impoverished families whose predicament will obviously be worst-off, during this challenging times.
The Algerian Football Federation [FAF] has not been indifferent. Through its President Kheiredine Zetchi, the FAF announced that it was placing all it’s financial and Human Resources at the disposal of the nation’s authorities to help in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Zetchi said FAF will not hesitate to be actively involved in the fight against the pandemic. The Algerian FA has also pledged to put at the disposal of the state, the facilities of its technical training centre in Sidi Moussa as soon as the work is completed.
These facilities will be used as a quarantine centre, with the exception of the Hotel Les Fennec, where work will still be going on until next year.
In Tunisia, the story has not been different. A good number of their national team players have made telling donations to the country’s Coronavirus solidarity fund. Wahbi Khazri, Anice Badri, Youssef Msakni, Taha Khenissi, Ben Youssef, Wajdi Kechrida, Ferjani Sasi, Bassem Srarfi, Saif-Eddine Khaoui, Ellyes Skhiri and the entire Tunisian squad that took part in the 2018 FIFA World Cup have all donated to the Tunisian Coronavirus solidarity fund.
The Tunisian Football Federation [FTF] has put the national team’s training facility at the disposal of the Tunisian Ministry of Health, which has readied the facility for any potential emergencies.
The FTF has also given 100,000 dinars to provide the medical supplies for the Borj Cendria and Ain Draham centers. The dinars are also at the disposal of the ministry of health.
The FTF has also taken the responsibility of covering the cost of the medical and paramedic personnel that will temporarily supervise the centres, and also announced that its teams were ready to support the government in a bid to end the crisis.
The FTF did not just end there, they further provided internet services to all the quarantine centres and pledged to give every Tunisian returning from abroad a mobile SIM card with data. They also placed five buses at the disposal of the Transport Ministry and provided 700 Tunisian families with staple foods, sanitary liquids and cleaning material.
The Royal Moroccan Football Federation [FRFM] also made a telling contribution by donating 10 million dirhams to the Moroccan anti Coronavirus fund.
Some professional clubs in the country also made donations to the fund. Current and former players as well as coaches have joint their voices in numerous campaigns aimed at raising awareness on the dangers of the virus and the necessary preventive measures to curb its spread in the country.
The North African countries have truly demonstrated what football and footballers can bring to the party in times of hardship and trials.
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