Tensions Rise Between Morocco and South Africa at CHAN 2022 in Algeria Over Mandla Mandela Comments

Tensions Rise Between Morocco and South Africa at CHAN 2022 in Algeria Over Mandla Mandela Comments

  • Diplomatic relations between South Africa and Morocco are becoming frostier
  • Mandla Mandela had criticised the country over the Western Sahara conflict
  • This was not taken too kindly with supporters of Raja Casablanca responding

Football has become the playing field in the deterioration of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Morocco.

Prominent South African politicians have made it clear which side they are on in the conflict in Western Sahara, between the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic/Polisario Front and the kingdom.

morocco, south africa, algeria, 2022 african nations championship, mandla mandela, raja casablanca, orania, western sahara, nelson mandela
Raja Casablanca supporters make their feelings known about Mandla Mandela. Image source: @AfricaFactsZone.
Source: Twitter

The highest-profile flashpoint yet came last week, when Chief Mandla Mandela called for a free Western Sahara from Moroccan rule, as per Al-Jazeera.

His comment was made at the opening ceremony of the 2022 African Nations Championship in Algeria. Complicating matters is that Algeria and its neighbours are not exactly on good terms themselves.

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Mandela's comments, implying that Morocco was illegally colonising Western Sahara, were met with an unsurprisingly angry response in the North African kingdom.

At a home match, Raja Casablanca responded to him with banners that read:


This was a brutal hit aimed at the divisively tolerated Afrikaner separatist town, in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.

Mandela's grandson provokes Moroccan fury

Many in South Africa's political establishment have made their feelings known regarding the Morocco-Western Sahara dispute.

This time, it was the turn of Chief Mandla Mandela, a member of South Africa's parliament, to lambaste the North Africans.

Nelson Mandela's grandson took the opportunity to criticise Morocco, during the opening ceremony of the 2023 African Nations Championship on Friday in Algeria.

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While the Arab and Muslim world has been unanimously behind the Atlas Lions, the rest of sub-Saharan Africa has been polarised in support for the North Africans.

For instance, prominent South African politicians have not been particularly warm towards Morocco regarding its ongoing conflict with Western Sahara.

Source: Sports Brief News