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Abdelhaziz Ben Tifour

Abdelaziz Ben Tifour

Abdelaziz Ben Tifour (Arabic عبدالعزيز بن طيفور; born: July 25, 1927 in Hussein-Dey, Algeria; died 1970) is a former French and Algerian international football (soccer) forward.

He was a pioneer of Algerian football playing in Tunisia and France in the 40s and 50s as well as establishing the first Algerian national team with two other FLN activists featuring ten players in France’s provisional World Cup squad on the eve of the finals in Sweden. One of those players was Ben Tifour himself, who had played for the French national team on four occasions including one appearance at the 1954 World Cup.

Born in Hussein-Dey, the youngster began making headlines for Tunisian club Al-Taraji (“Hope”) or Espérance as an eighteen year-old with his elder brother Mustapha, in a team coached by the legendary Algerian Cheikh Habib Draoua. After only a year with the Tunis based club; the brothers and fellow Algerian player Ben Battouche were tempted by a generous offer from rival team Club Sportif de Hammam Lif and helped the team to two consecutive Tunisia cups in 1947 and 1948. In the summer of 1948, he moved to Europe to play for French first division club OGC Nice, making his debut in a 1-1 draw with Red Star Paris and by the time Ben Tifour played at the 1954 FIFA World Cup in Switzerland in a 3-2 win over Mexico; he had already won two league titles and a French Cup with OGC Nice. He moved to Troyes AC after six seasons with Nice in 1954 and then signed for AS Monaco in 1956, which would be his last club in Europe notching up 56 goals in 246 matches in the French top division after his hastily made exit to Tunis to form the FLN Algerian national team in early 1958.

On his arrival in Tunis, Ben Tifour was met by FLN officials who did not believe in the team, thinking they would not stand up to the world’s best team, this only drove the players to greater things. Players like Ben Tifour, Rachid Mekloufi and Mustapha Zitouni proved them wrong with wins over Yugoslavia and credible draws with Hungary and Czechoslovakia. In the space of four years, Ben Tifour one of the founders behind the formation of the team would captain and later coach the team touring the world from the Far East to Eastern Europe. When Algeria was granted independence in 1962, the 33-year-old Ben Tifour unlike Mekloufi and Ahmed Oudjani who moved back to play in Europe, returned to his homeland to take up a player-coach role at Union Sportive de la Medina d'Alger leading them to the first Algerian championship in 1963.

Ben Tifour died at the age of only 43 while he was coach at Jeunesse Sportive de Kabylie during the 1970-1971 season.

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