Soccer-Algeria coach Belmadi steps down

  • Football
  • Wednesday, 24 Jan 2024

Soccer Football - Africa Cup of Nations - Group E - Algeria v Sierra Leone - Stade de Japoma, Douala, Cameroon - January 11, 2022 Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani/File Photo

ABIDJAN (Reuters) -Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi has agreed to stand down after they were eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations finals on Tuesday, the country’s football federation said on Wednesday.

Belmadi had told his players in the changing room that he would be standing down after Algeria were beaten 1-0 by Mauritania and he has since agreed to terminate his contract, Algerian federation president Walid Sadi said.

“I met the national coach to discuss the consequences of this bitter elimination, and we reached an amicable agreement to break his contract. We thank the coach for everything he has done for the team and we wish him good luck for the rest of his career,” Sadi said.

Belmadi was coach when Algeria won the 2019 Cup of Nations in Egypt but his side have finished bottom of their opening round group in the two successive editions since.

They also failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, conceding a last gasp goal at home to Cameroon to go out on the away goals rule in a play-off.

Belmadi, famed for emotive gesturing on the touch line and a demonstrative demeanour, has clung onto his job despite the recent setbacks. Algeria were fancied to do well at the Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast with a formidable squad.

But they were held to draws by Angola and Burkina Faso in their opening Group D games before suffering a first ever loss to Mauritania, ranked 75 places below them.

"The only thing that was missing was a goal. Whenever they got a half chance they scored, whenever we got a chance we didn't. That's the mystery of football," Belmadi told a press conference after the Mauritania match.

The 47-year-old, born in France but who played for Algeria and whose club career included stints at Manchester City and Paris St Germain, lost only seven of 67 matches in charge since being appointed in 2018. He won 43 of his games in charge.

Belmadi is the fourth coaching casualty in 24 hours at the tournament in the Ivory Coast, following the resignation of Tom Saintfiet of Gambia and the sackings of Chris Hughton (Ghana) and Jean-Louis Gasset from the home team.

(Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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