Now that the United States has been eliminated from the World Cup many Americans are searching for a new team to root for. Algeria may not be the first to come to mind, but they should be a contender going forward.
Even though they eliminated the United States a few days ago, and have since been eliminated themselves, Algeria is still a major underdog compared to Germany, Brazil or Netherlands.
Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? But the best reason to root for Algeria is their generosity.
Algeria has committed to donating all of the team’s World Cup bonuses to humanitarian aid in Gaza. Gaza, is a region on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea that borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the east and north.
For over eight years Gaza has been in conflict with Israel. Just today, the New York Times reports Israeli forces are mobilizing around Gaza. The most recent casualty numbers, which were compiled in 2012, have the Gaza death toll over 2,200 and wounded civilians at over 72,000.
The country incentivizes its players by giving bonuses for each round they progress. At this stage, each game the team progresses, the larger their bonuses. At the moment the Algerian team has earned $9 million in bonuses.
The nine million is a sum large enough to make a serious dent in Gaza’s medical backlog. The money will go to repairing hundreds of injuries; gifting many with something many countries consider a human right, bodily normalcy.
Root for righteousness, root for humanity and root for Algeria.