Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune spoke about the strong relationship between South African leader Nelson Mandela and Algeria. This profound relationship was the reason for naming the new stadium in the Algerian capital after Mandela, which will host the African Nations Championship (CHAN) opening.
In an interview with journalists during his inauguration of the new stadium located in the capital’s southern suburbs, Tebboune shared a little-known fact that Mandela joined the Algerian revolution in 1961. He came to be trained by the Mujahideen of the National Liberation Army with his comrades when they were preparing for the revolution in South Africa to overthrow the apartheid regime. When Mandela returned to his country from Algeria, he was arrested and imprisoned.
Tebboune added that Mandela, after his release from prison: “Became an icon in the love of freedom, liberation and endurance. His first external visit was to Algeria, where he said: ‘I am Algerian, and Algeria is my homeland, meaning that I am not a refugee’. We will not find a better symbol than Nelson Mandela to represent Algeria, South Africa and the African continent.”
The Algerian president emphasised the Mediterranean, Arab and African dimensions of his country during his official inauguration of the new Baraki Stadium. He pointed out other meanings behind selecting the name, mainly that Algeria: “Has entered the stage of consolidating African affiliation.”
Tebboune continued: “During the 2022 Mediterranean Games in Oran, we proved the well-deserved success of the tournament, and through this, we affirmed the Mediterranean part of our affiliation. The same applies to the Arab summit, which was successful and through which we proved that we belong to the Arab nation. Today, thanks to this edifice that bears the name of the symbol Mandela, we prove our African identity.”
The new stadium was inaugurated in the presence of Mandela’s grandson, who affirmed the deep-rooted relations between Algeria and South Africa, noting that his grandfather always considered Algeria his second home and the home of all revolutionaries in Africa.
The CHAN tournament will take place in Algeria from 13 January to 4 February, 2023.