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We are proud to present the story of the USM Alger told by Vin Lacerenza of Calcio Africano. A way to delve even more closely into the history of one of the most successful clubs in Algerian history, the first to triumph after the liberation.
Muslims and separatists
When, in 1937, the USM Alger saw the light, in Algeria there were already several Muslim clubs: in the same Algiers, for example, sixteen years earlier a group of young people from the Casbah, a historic district of Algiers, had reunited with those from the popular area of Bab-El Oued, giving life to the Mouloudia Club d’Alger. Founding an openly Muslim team, at a time when France’s colonial grip is still tight around Algeria, is an act of challenge: it meanstrying to awaken national consciousness, using football to lay the foundations of an identity. common with a view to future independence.
The French, in fact, become suspicious and raise some objections to the name, but in the end they grant the authorization to proceed: “The only thing that “shocked” the colonial administration was the word Muslim. He was very frowned upon. We argued, we argued on both sides, and approval was granted “, recalled one of its founders Sid-Ahmed Kemmat, later also general secretary of the club, in an interview with the Afric 1 newspaper.
Meddad Arezki, the owner of one of the busiest cafes in the neighborhood, is appointed as the first president, and initially they take to the field dressed in grenade, but the Usmites leadership opts for red and black, a tribute to the innocent victims of the bloody massacres perpetrated by the colonial army in May of that year. With these colors the USM Alger, in 1963, a year after independence, the Rossoneri triumphed in the first, historic championship of Free Algeria of Ahmed Ben Bella, leader of the FLN, first president of the country, but also a great Usmistes fan. For USM Alger, dragged by the legendary captain Abdelaziz Ben Tifour – a member of the legendary FLN team who died in 1970 following a car accident – it is a memorable success. Not only because he is the first of independent Algeria, but also because he arrives in an epic final with the Moulodia Club d’Alger, the usual rivals, liquidated with a 3-0 round.
Subsequently, the Rossoneri will win the championship six more times, but to return to the roof of Algeria they will have to wait more than thirty years. In 1996, after years of purgatory between anonymous seasons and relegations to cadetries, it is the arrival of President Saïd Allik to revive the ambitions of the USM Alger, putting an end to a long crossing of the desert: under the guidance of the former defender central, in fact, the Rossoneri will win 4 titles and as many national cups.
The arrival of Haddad
It will be he, one of the most successful presidents in the history of the club, to step aside in 2010, leaving the baton to the businessman Ali Haddad, tycoon at the head of ERTHB, the Algerian giant in the construction and plumbing sectors. recently got into trouble because he was considered very close to the power apparatus of the highly contested president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Haddad got to work right away. First he led the USM Alger in the transition from amateurism to professionalism, as requested by FIFA a few years ago, transforming the Rossoneri into the first SPA of Algerian football, and then he took care of the sports side, investing a lot to strengthen the team and project it on international stages.
The satisfactions came by return of post: in 2013 the USM Alger raised the Arab Champions League, beating the Kuwaiti Al-Arabi in the final, while in 2015 the Rossoneri climbed up to the CAF Champions League final. then surrendering to the presence of the Congolese of Mazembe.
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