Al Jazeera World

The Rebel Game: Algeria and Sudan

Football became a means of resistance to French colonial rule in Algeria and a counter to British colonialism in Sudan.

Football was a means of resistance in the fight for independence in French colonial Algeria and British-ruled Sudan.

The European powers introduced their sports to their colonies for their own recreation, as well as a way of controlling the local population.

French authorities allowed local football clubs in Algeria on condition that they had a mix of Algerian and French settler players. As the nationalist movement grew, its relationship with football became closer. In 1958, 15 Algerian professionals based in France formed a breakaway national team that played 91 international matches and became a key part of the fight for independence.

In Sudan, the British banned football when the governor of Sudan was assassinated in 1924. When the sport was allowed again, clubs could have only British names. But Al-Hilal was founded in 1930, and it began to turn the tide. The British left three decades later, and Sudan set up its national footballing structure.