CAF Denies Recognition to Polisario Team, Representing the UN-Unrecognized Sahrawi Arab Democratic...

CAF Denies Recognition to Polisario Team, Representing the UN-Unrecognized Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic


The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has turned down a bid from Algeria to recognize the recently-established “Polisario” team, representing the UN-Unrecognized “Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.” The development was reported by Africa Intelligence.

Following the formation of the Polisario team a few weeks ago, Algeria endeavored to facilitate its inclusion into the CAF. As part of this drive, a match was staged between the new Polisario team and Mouloudia Algiers.

However, the pathway to the team’s acceptance was stymied by an amendment to the CAF’s foundational law, which was implemented in March 2021 under the influence of Morocco. The provision states that “The Confederation of African Football is open to all nominations of African national federations as official representatives who manage football in a country recognized as an independent state and a member of the United Nations.”

This amendment carries significant weight in Africa, particularly considering the region’s propensity for military coups and political instability. Without such a safeguard in place, any faction could potentially gain entry into the CAF, thereby exacerbating instability and insecurity within the continental football community.

Under these rules, the Polisario team, representing a non-UN recognized entity, fails to meet the necessary criteria for membership.

Despite the legislative hurdle, Algerian authorities pressed on. Djahid Zefzaf, President of the Algerian Football Federation, in August last year, appealed for “the cancellation of the vote on the fourth article or the implementation of a partial amendment in line with the wish of a CAF member country” — a comment believed to allude to Algeria.

The appeal was unsuccessful as the CAF held firm on its stance.