Torn between two nations

A RESTAURANT boss admits he has split loyalties ahead of England's crunch World Cup clash with Algeria on Friday.

Algeria-born Krimo Bouabda has lived in Hartlepool for 34 years and so will be waving both countries' flags when tomorrow's game kicks off.

The 57-year-old was born and raised in North Africa but calls Hartlepool his home after moving to England in 1976.

Since the draw was made for the finals back in December, Krimo says he has been caught in two minds over who to support.

The Hartlepool United fan, who lives in the town's Bishop Cuthbert estate with wife Karen, said: "My heart says Algeria, my soul says England – and the rest of me hopes for a draw.

"But I want to see England win the World Cup because I live here and Algeria have no chance."

Algeria started their campaign with a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Slovenia and know a defeat would see them going home.

Krimo, who celebrated 25 years of business in Hartlepool in May, says he had a lot of ribbing following that defeat but knows it will be far worse if his home country lose again on Friday.

He will be watching the big match at his son Adam's cinema-restaurant Flix, in the town's Church Square, where he expects there to be a cracking atmosphere.

He said: "I doubt Algeria will do much. They are good individually and skilled but they are not a team.

"I just hope it is a draw because if Algeria or England win, I won't know what to do.

"I'm really looking forward to it though. People know where I'm from so I'm sure it will be a nice night and there will be plenty of jokes."

Krimo has had an interest in English football since he was growing up in Algeria as his mum supported Leeds United because of "that tall man who runs like a giraffe" – World Cup winner Jack Charlton.

Krimo, who runs three restaurants on Hartlepool Marina, said: "Football is really big in Algeria, they all love it and they all watch the Premier League.

"All of Algeria will be watching on Friday, it means so much to them.

"And to see Africa, which still has so many problems, holding such an event is quite special."