Algeria passes law banning violence against women

Algeria’s parliament passed a law on Thursday criminalising violence against women, in a move criticised by both Islamist lawmakers as well as Amnesty.

The law makes inflicting injury on one’s spouse punishable with up to 20 years in prison, and allows a judge to hand down life sentences for domestic violence resulting in death.

The bill passed in a vote attended by more than half of Algeria’s 462 MPs, and the result drew the ire of some of the assembly’s Islamists.

Abdelallah Djaballah of El Adala party said the new law “takes revenge on the husband and on the man in general”, accusing the legislation of seeking to “break up the family”.

In contrast, a deputy from the ruling National Liberation Front told AFP that Thursday was “a great day” following the adoption of the anti-violence measures.

Between 100 and 200 women die each year in instances of domestic violence in Algeria, according to statistics published by local media.

Amnesty International called for an amendment dropping a clause which allows the survivor of domestic violence to pardon the perpetrator, warning it was “a dangerous precedent”.

“The provision fails to confront the reality of the power relations and inequality between men and women,” it said.

“A failure to withdraw it could expose women who come forward to report domestic abuse to serious risks of violence or coercion to force them to withdraw a complaint.”

Photo Credits : AFP

Ghana and Algeria keep title dream alive

A late diving header by Andre Ayew took Ghana through to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday alongside favourites Algeria in a dramatic denouement to Group C.

Ghana came from behind to beat South Africa 2-1 in Mongomo to secure their berth in the quarter-finals as winners of the group, having looked set to finish bottom with barely 20 minutes to play.

Meanwhile, the Algerians beat Senegal 2-0 in Malabo thanks to a goal in each half from Premier League stars Riyad Mahrez and Nabil Bentaleb to go through in second place at the expense of the Lions of Teranga.

The Black Stars of Ghana, who have reached at least the semi-finals of each of the last four tournaments, were heading out when Mandla Masango smashed home on 17 minutes in Mongomo to give South Africa the lead.

However, their hopes were revived when defender John Boye equalised on 73 minutes, and with the momentum behind them, Avram Grant’s side went on to get the win they required when Marseille winger Andre Ayew headed home with seven minutes to go from a cross by Abdul Rahman Baba.

“We deserve it because South Africa were not better than us. We have finished first in the group of death, which is not bad,” said Ghana’s Israeli coach Grant.

Algeria also had to win against Senegal to be sure of going through and Christian Gourcuff’s team were on their way when Leicester City winger Mahrez slotted home on 11 minutes.

At 1-0, both sides were going through until events of the final 10 minutes in Equatorial Guinea. First, Sofiane Feghouli set up Bentaleb to lash home and put Algeria 2-0 up, and then Ghana’s winning goal in the other game condemned Senegal to an early exit.

“It was an excessively difficult game physically. The ball was almost always in the air, which is not an advantage for us,” said Algeria coach Gourcuff, who is now looking forward to a quarter-final tie this weekend.

“It was not easy to get out of this group. We don’t choose our opponents. Of course we’ll follow the games with lots of interest tomorrow (Wednesday) and we’ll see what happens,” he added.

– Senegal fail again –

While Algeria, who last won the competition in 1990, and Ghana can look forward to the knockout stage, Senegal and South Africa are left to wonder what might have been.

Bafana Bafana go home with just one point after throwing away the lead in all three of their matches, although their coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba remained upbeat at how his team performed.

“We played well in qualifying against some very strong teams, and we played well here too,” he said.

However, Senegal coach Alain Giresse was not able to praise his side, who came up short despite only requiring a draw to progress.

And as the Lions of Teranga were left to contemplate another failed attempt to finally get their hands on the continental trophy, Giresse was urged to step down by the Senegalese media.

“My contract has finished,” he reminded them. “The road ends here for Senegal. There will be a lot of changes in and around the team. What happens next I don’t know, but I know what I am going to do.”

Algeria and Ghana will find out their last-eight opponents on Wednesday, when Group D concludes with Cameroon and the Ivory Coast clashing in Malabo while Guinea and Mali meet in Mongomo.

All four sides are currently deadlocked with identical records, with every game thus far in the section having finished 1-1.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, organisers announced that the quarter-finals due to be played in Ebebiyin and Mongomo would be moved to Bata and Malabo respectively.

The decision means that hosts Equatorial Guinea will meet Tunisia in Bata on Saturday rather than in the tiny 5,000-seat Ebebiyin stadium.

In addition, Sunday’s scheduled quarter-final between Ghana and the runners-up in Group D will now be played in Malabo rather than in Mongomo.

Organisers said deteriorating pitches in the towns in question were behind the decision.

Photo Credits : AFP

Algeria, Senegal seek to secure Africa Cup quarter-final berths

Billed as the toughest group at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, Group C could be done and dusted with a game to spare on Friday.

Algeria, widely tipped as favourites coming into the competition, and dark horses Senegal won their opening games and so could qualify for the last eight if both record wins against Ghana and South Africa respectively.

Meanwhile, the Black Stars and Bafana Bafana, who threw away leads in their opening games, can ill afford a second straight defeat if they are to keep their dreams of the continental title alive.

The first game of a double-header in the eastern Equatoguinean town of Mongomo pits Algeria against Avram Grant’s Ghana, who have been waiting to see if talisman Asamoah Gyan will be able to return after he missed the 2-1 defeat to Senegal on Monday due to a mild bout of malaria.

Ghana led against Senegal courtesy of an Andre Ayew penalty but were pegged back in the second half before losing to a stoppage-time goal by Moussa Sow.

However, Israeli coach Grant, who was only recently appointed, remained upbeat as to his side’s prospects.

“As you saw the players showed good mentality and we hope it will be the same next game. But we knew that if we lost nothing would be decided,” insisted the former Chelsea manager.

Some Ghanaian fans might take it as an omen that the last time they beat Algeria at the Cup of Nations, in 1982 in Libya, is also the last time they won the trophy.

Algeria, meanwhile, come into the game after a dramatic win in their opening game.

Christian Gourcuff’s side trailed 1-0 against South Africa and only a missed penalty by Tokelo Rantie prevented them from falling further behind before they stormed back to win 3-1 with three goals in the final quarter.

“Algeria had not won their opening game at the competition since 1990, so that augurs well for what is to come,” Yacine Brahimi, one of the potential stars of these finals, told Algerian media.

“(The next match) will be like a final. It will be a super match. Ghana will undoubtedly react, while we need to build on our good start to close in on qualifying for the next phase.”

Senegal face South Africa in the second game of the day as the Bafana Bafana look to bounce back from their collapse in their opening match.

“We have a mountain to climb but we are still confident that we will do well in our next match,” coach ‘Shakes’ Mashaba told South African media.

“We still have two games to go. We need to motivate the boys and get them back on their feet because understandably they are dejected.”

Eric Mathoho and Reneilwe Letsholonyane, who missed the first game through suspension, return to contention for South Africa.

However, youngster Rivaldo Coetzee will miss the game with the knee problem that forced him off against Algeria, although he is hoping to return for the final match against Ghana.

Sow is hoping that his goalscoring heroics off the bench against Ghana will be enough for him to be included in Senegal coach Alain Giresse’s starting line-up.

If only one of Senegal or Algeria win, they would still qualify if the day’s other match ends in a draw.

Photo Credits : AFP

AFCON 2015: Algeria’s 3-1 victory against South Africa secures them top Group C spot

AFCON favourites got off to a winning start during their opening Group C  match on  Monday after their 3-1 win against South Africa.

This was Algeria’s first ever win against South Africa and it saw them leap-frog Senegal into first place in the group’s standings. Senegal had defeated Ghana 2-1 in an earlier match.

South Africa took the lead with a goal at the 51st minute from Thuso Phala but Algeria’s comeback was helped by goals from Thulani Hlatshwayo (own goal, 67′), Faouzi Ghoulam (72′) and Islam Slimani (83′).

Anelka ‘too old’ to join Algerian club

Controversial French striker Nicolas Anelka was on Monday refused permission to join an Algerian club on the grounds that he was too old.

The 35-year-old former Arsenal, Chelsea, Juventus and Real Madrid star was on the verge of joining Nasr Athletique d’Hussein-Dey (NAHD).

But the move was blocked by the Algerian Football Federation, Mahfoud Kerbadj, president of the Algerian professional football league, told APS news agency.

“The rules concerning foreign players being allowed to play in the Algerian league are clear,” he said.

“Only those aged under 27 and playing on the international level for their countries are allowed to sign up with our clubs.”

Anelka has been training with NAHD and had hoped to sign an 18-month contract with what would have been his 13th club.

The 69-capped forward’s most recent employers were Mumbai City in the Indian Super League.

Last March he was fired by English side West Bromwich Albion for “gross misconduct” after he made an alleged anti-Semitic gesture, known as a “quenelle”, as a goal-scoring celebration.

That sacking was the latest in a long history of rows and disputes over the course of a career which saw him play for 11 different clubs in six different countries before heading to India.

As well as playing in a host of top European clubs, he also had a brief spell with Shanghai Shenhua in China.

Photo Credits : AFP

Wreckage of missing Air Algeria Plane found in Mali

                                                                                          Image of md-83, similar to ill fated plane. File Photo courtesy

The wreckage of the Air Algerie plane that went missing on Thursday morning after takeoff from Burkina Faso has been found in Mali.

The plane with 100 passengers and 6 crew members on board was bound for Algiers but fell off the radar 50 minutes after takeoff from Ouagadougou.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane after pilots reported severe storms.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-83 – Flight AH 5017 – had been chartered from Spanish airline Swiftair.

The plane was carrying 50 French nationals, 24 Burkina Faso nationals, six Lebanese, five Canadians, four Algerians, two Luxemburg nationals, one Swiss, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian and one Malian.