From May 31 to June 9, a football World Cup unlike the others will be held in London: ConIFA (The Confederation of Independent Football Associations ) is a tournament consisting of teams from stateless people groups. Two weeks, sixteen teams from around the world, mostly amateur players and one motto: “Freedom to play football”.
Kabylia will be among the three nations that will represent Africa next to the Barawas, represented by the diaspora of this region of southern Somalia and Matabeleland a province of western Zimbabwe, known to have been the theater in the years 1980 massacre of Ndebele, orchestrated by former president Robert Mugabe.
Obviously, when you represent a country that is occupated, politics and repression are never far away and you have to know how to be discreet. “I will not communicate the coach’s selection of the team before the start of the tournament, for fear retaliation against families left behind”, said Aksel Bellabbaci, the chairman of Kabylia’s team, who said he had been interrogated for a long time by the Algerian police, who tried to make him give up his project.
Moreover, on the eve of the departure of the players established in Kabylia, the Algerian authorities went so far as to intimidate the families of the athletes. Indeed Tizi-Ouzou Algerian sports director had turned his office into a police station to audition all the players who wanted to join the National Team Kabyle.
Often, by their very existence, the teams are already political objects. Nevertheless, like all sports competitions, the ConIFA tournament must be neutral. “On the field, teams can display their flag and sing their national anthem, but that’s it. If the chairman of the Kabyla selection wants to give his own personal opinion on the situation in his country, he can do that, but not in the name of the team, nor that of ConIFA” says a representative of the confederation.
This does not prevent the delegation from forming partnerships with political institutions. But above all, to make the Kabylas fight for independence from the Algerian colonialism more visible.
Because even if the KNT (Kabylias National Team), like the two other African teams is not part of the favorites for the title, all the ingredients are there to make known the desire for freedom of Kabylia.
May 31 Kabylia against Panjab
-June 2nd Kabylia against Koreans from Japan
-June 3 Kabylia against Western Armenia