Restore the tarnished image and find the elite
77 years old RC Kouba
RC Kouba celebrated their 77th birthday on Monday 28th February with the aim of rebuilding their tarnished image and returning to the national football elite at the end of this 2021-2022 season after a 13-year purgatory in divisions 2 and 3 as stated above all the hardships and tensions that this Algerian club was experiencing at the time are more and more plausible. This club is, in fact, the leader of the League 2 championship (Group Center-West) after four days of the return phase, ahead of the closest pursuers by 2 points.
A “relative renaissance” for the Green-Whites that seems to revive the hopes of fans eager to see their club in the elite. Despite the closed session still in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Koubean fans are using the terraces and balconies of the buildings adjacent to the Mohamed-Benhaddad Stadium to watch their favorites’ matches. Last Saturday, during their 2-0 Championship victory over GC Mascara, they took the opportunity to celebrate RCK’s 77th anniversary in their own way. Indeed, in the 77th minute of the RCK-GCM match, coinciding with the number 77 – the number of years of the club – Cuban fans launched smoke bombs from the balconies and terraces of the famous popular city of El Bahia, a supplier of young footballers, located next to the Benhaddad sports building. In honor of this anniversary, long banners were made. One of them read: “77 years of existence: united and committed to Raed.” There are many players who have ardently defended RCK’s colors, helping to offer it a place of choice on the national football chessboard in the recent past. Others even honorably defended the national colors in various Algerian elections. Among them is the charming defender of the golden generation of RCK Mohamed Chaib.
About the dynamics that the Cuban formation is currently experiencing, Chaib speaks with enthusiasm. According to him, this is a great opportunity to seize absolutely to rally the ranks and achieve entry into the elite. “Our team played the first match as champions despite the lack of financial resources… I hope the players keep up the pace and stay ahead. From a technical point of view and in view of the results already registered, we deserve to join. We must take advantage of this opportunity. Our absence from Division 1 has been too long,” he told APS.
The birth of a club with traditions and sporting values
With the end of the Second World War approaching and in the wake of the popular movement in favor of the Algerian cause against French colonialism and on the recommendation of the People’s Party on February 28, 1945 in the region of Oued Kniss. At the origins of this creation are prominent figures of the time, including the first president, Mustafa Ben Unish (Honorary President for Life) and Shahid Mohamed Benhaddad, whose name was attributed to the stadium of Cuba. After independence, the RCK advanced to the first division in its second season in 1964–1965, with a line-up of formidable left winger Boualem Amirouche and famed FLN team centre-back Mustpaha Zitouni. The same team hosted the 1966 Algiers Cup final against CR Belcourt (3-1 defeat).
RCK also distinguished itself in 1964 by establishing the first football school, which was then run by Mustafa Al Kamal. This school has trained many players for Algerian football, including over 120 players for Algerian qualifiers in various categories. Some of them have distinguished themselves at the African or even world level, such as spinning striker Salah Assad, known for his famous “Goraf”.
Since 1974, thanks to a new generation of talented players from different areas of Cuban, coached by Raed, the club has risen to a higher level with a team that has remained famous in the annals of national football for its beautiful game. but also through noble values such as respect, sportsmanship and fair play.
This new group of players was led by Maestro Boualem Amirouche and a quartet of internationals Abdelaziz Sefsafi, Mokhtar Kaoua, Hosin Boumaaraf and goalkeeper Ilies Telj, gold medalists of the 1975 Mediterranean Games in Algiers, who missed out on the Algerian title in the 1974-1975 season, finishing second, behind Algeria’s Muloudia by one point. A tight-knit group that was strengthened over time by other talented players such as Salah Assad, Mohamed Kachi-Saeed, Mohamed Chaib, Rashid Sebbar and many more, until reaching the top level at the national level and thus winning the championship for the 1980-season 1981
A group that, in the process, confirmed that this feat was not the result of a fluke by winning the first edition of the Algerian Super Cup, and which to this day remain the only two major titles on Raed’s list. In this regard, Mohamed Shaib, captain of the national “youth” team at the 1979 World Cup, said: “When I look back on Raed’s golden age, I am deeply disappointed with his current position. Our team deserves a much better status than the one it has now, because in the past it has rendered great services to domestic sports, and football in particular.
“Our team first of all shone with its values, because it was thanks to them that it was able to reach the quarter-finals of the Cup of African Champion Clubs in 1982, not to mention a good performance in the Algerian Cup. An event in which he reached an advanced stage, competing with the greats despite the limited resources we had compared to them,” he added.
Case of Lausanne 2009
and the disappearance of others
Indeed, the values that made Raed so great have been lost over time, and since the 2008-2009 season, when the club was denied promotion to the first division, after USM’s reservations, things have only gotten worse. El Harrah.
The case grew so large that it went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne (Switzerland) and finally won the Raed case.
From there, the Algerian Federation was forced to reconsider its position and integrate the RCK into the elite championship, but not without consequences, because this decision took so long that it ended up penalizing the club significantly and in different aspects.
Indeed, in addition to the pre-season preparation that could not be done properly to allow Raed to rise to the level of the first division, the recruiting operation could not be carried out in the rules of art., because all the potential recruits joined elsewhere. Added to this were the numerous late matches that had to be hitched at a hellish pace to catch up with the D1 train, which eventually sent Raed into a spiral of failure.
An ordeal that didn’t stop at this point because Raed’s “retaliation policy” pushed investor Omar Rebrab to exit, leaving behind a large debt. A real blow to the club near Moscow, from which he never recovered, to the point that he was forced to sacrifice other sports, such as athletics and boxing, in order to continue to survive.
In this regard, Shaib will say: “We had some of the best athletes in athletics, in particular, Sakina Butamin and Sahri, not forgetting the boxers, including the military world champion. But over time and because of the endless crisis that plunged the club, all this was lost.
Although the current season (2021-2022) seems to offer a glimmer of hope for Grand Raed’s resurgence, in particular with the return of prodigy Sid Ali Yahya-Sheriff leading the senior football team to a return to the elite.
“Now we have to think about promoting the club, about attracting new financial resources, which will be used to put more resources into the hands of managers and players, thereby taking the club to a higher level, which will allow it to achieve a lot. … higher,” suggested ex-internationalist Mohamed Chaib, now a sports consultant for TV channels.
“RCK has a reputation as a practice club and that’s a characteristic that needs to be revived with a little more care for the local kids,” he insisted.