CAIRO – Returning to hero’s welcome in their country, Algeria World Cup football team members have revealed that they intend to donate their bonus money to people in the besieged Gaza strip.
As reported in Algeria's daily Echorouk Online, the Desert Foxes' striker Islam Slimani commented on promises of huge bonuses for the team by saying they will donate them to Gaza.
“They need it more than us," the widely spread daily quoted Slimani, who plays for Sporting Lisbon, on Thursday, July 3.
If confirmed, the donated World Cup prize money is estimated by around $9 million to the people in Gaza.
Similar information was reported by the British daily The Independent which quoted Jordanian football writer Waleed Abu Nada saying that Slimani said: “They need it more than us.”
However, Writer for Al Jazeera, ESPN and the Telegraph, @MezahiMaher, has updated his followers on Thursday morning claiming that there is no credible source that Algeria players did indeed give their money away, as has been widely reported in the past 24 hours.
"Hate to burst everyone's bubble, but there's no credible source for #ALG players donating their bonuses to Gaza. Twitter rumour gone mad," he wrote on Thursday morning.
Algeria won over a lot of new fans with a spirited World Cup that saw them advance into the round of 16 for the first time in the country's history.
The team has also won the hearts and minds of many with their heroic effort in pushing Germany to extra-time in their round of 16 World Cup clash.
Returning home on Wednesday, the Desert Foxes were met by Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, who embraced the team's Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic
"Allahu akbar, Halilhodzic," shouted fans at Algiers airport as the team emerged, a chant repeated later on the streets of the capital.
The squad boarded a bus painted green and white, with each player's name daubed in red, the three colors of the national flag, and toured the capital.
Gaza has been blockaded by Israel since 2006.
Livelihood in the Gaza Strip, home to more than 1.8 million, has badly deteriorated since Israel imposed a crippling siege on the enclave in 2006.
The siege leaves most of Gazans cut off from the outside world and struggling with desperate poverty.
A UN report said last May that poverty stood at 40 percent among Gaza population, of whom 80 percent depended on outside aid.
The report said nearly 30 percent of Gazans were jobless and that eight out of 10 households are dependent on some kind of aid.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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