Upon returning home from their loss in the World Cup’s round of 16, Algeria’s star striker reportedly announced that the whole team will give its estimated $9 million earned in the tournament to Gaza, in what would be a politicized move during tumultuous times in the Middle East.
Islam Slimani, one of the team’s leading players, told fans at a welcoming ceremony in Algiers on Wednesday that the Palestinian people “need [the money] more than us,” according to the Independent; whether the team will make the donation remains unconfirmed.
If so, for many of the players who are on club teams in more financially strapped leagues in Africa and Europe, the decision would be a sizeable sacrifice.
Algerian support for Palestine has been apparent throughout the Desert Foxes’ — the team’s nickname — impressive run, in which it beat out Russia to advance to the knock-out round, where it lost to Germany 2–1. During Wednesday’s parade, the team’s bus was draped with a Palestinian flag.
Additionally, during the game against Germany, Algerian fans held up a Palestinian flag in front of a fan waving an Israeli one.
A fan of Algeria stands and raises Palestine's flag in front of a Germany fan who raises Israel's flag. pic.twitter.com/uAUlvXBLnE
— – (@M7mdBinKalban) July 1, 2014
The reported announcement comes as tensions between Israel and the Palestinians escalated after the murder of three Israeli teenagers was followed by the murder of a Palestinian teen, in what some consider a retaliation attack.