Outpouring of Support for RS Berkane Following Aborted Match with USM Alger

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RS Berkane

A wave of support is rallying behind RS Berkane, a football club from the eastern part of the Kingdom of Morocco, amidst a diplomatic standoff between Rabat and Algiers.

This past weekend, Moroccan players traveled to face USM Alger in the CAF Cup semi-final. However, upon their arrival at the airport, Algerian authorities confiscated Berkane’s jerseys due to the presence of a map of Morocco including the Moroccan Sahara.

Upon their return to Moroccan soil, RS Berkane players were welcomed as heroes by hundreds of supporters. At Oujda airport, chants and ululations echoed, symbolizing Moroccans’ unwavering support for what is termed here as the “territorial integrity of the Kingdom.”

Consequently, a vast majority of Botola clubs – the Moroccan league – issued statements of solidarity with RS Berkane. Raja and Wydad Casablanca, the country’s two main clubs, for instance, expressed their “unconditional support” for the club from the east. Rajaoui club also emphasized that the “issue of the Moroccan Sahara is our primary, sacred, and eternal cause,” deeply regretting “the involvement of sports in odious political hatred.”

In total, over a dozen clubs have shown their support for RS Berkane. On social media, numerous Moroccans proudly sport the jersey in question, and RS Berkane’s online store is being widely promoted.

This collective response reflects a deep-seated national sentiment regarding the issue of Western Sahara, with sports serving as both a platform for solidarity and a reflection of broader geopolitical tensions in the region.

Soukaina Sghir

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