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Since his arrival at the head of Algeria in September 2018, Djamel Belmadi has managed to straighten out the Fennecs, to the point of offering them victory at CAN-2019 and an impressive series of unbeaten 33 matches. Before the start of the Africa Cup in Cameroon, he is at the height of his popularity.
Who can stop Djamel Belmadi and his team from Algeria today? With the Fennecs, the coach remains on an impressive series of 33 consecutive games without defeat – African record in progress – before starting the African Cup, Tuesday, January 11, against Sierra Leone.
Under his leadership, the Algerian selection has regained its splendor. Because when Djamel Belmadi landed on the bench in September 2018, Algeria was at the bottom of the hole. After their heyday in the round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup, the Fennecs plunged into instability: they have known six coaches in five years and have completely missed the CAN-2017, with an elimination in the first round .
Rigor and discipline
Djamel Belmadi will restore order: “He simply changed the state of mind. There were a lot of locker room problems before he arrived. He dismissed players who thought they were essential and renewed the selection with players on whom no one was betting “, explains Mehdi Dahak, publication director of DZfoot, a site specializing in Algerian football news, joined by France 24.” Djamel Benlamri has become indisputable in central hinge. Youcef Belaïli has had incidents of course in his career but he is today the offensive engine of the team. Riyad Mahrez can score at any time but Belaïli is the engine. “
CAN-2022 local coaches
(1/6) Djamel Belmadi, the Algerian coach “more popular than the president”
(2/6) Aliou Cissé “under pressure” to open the ranking of Senegal
(3/6) Mondher Kebaier, at the head of a Tunisian selection “too big for him”?
(4/6) Wubetu Abate, a local star to surprise Ethiopia
(5/6) Amir Abdou, the spark of the first African Cup of the Comoros
(6/6) Mohamed Magassouba, a lasting interim at the head of Mali
Very quickly, Djamel Belmadi, former player of PSG and OM, displays his principles: rigor, frankness, discipline. He asks for a strong commitment from his players for the Fennecs, like his in the early 2000s.
“He had made a very strong choice by opting for Algeria. At the time, few Franco-Algerian players chose the Fennecs. Relations between the African Football Confederation (CAF), the clubs, the players and the selections were even worse than now. He was one of the few players to ‘sacrifice’ himself for the selection, “recalls Mehdi Dahak. “Today as a coach, he asks the same of his players. There is no half-choice. This is why when Andy Delort asks to be exempted from the CAN, it does not pass . “
Djamel Belmadi had indeed stepped up to the plate in a virulent way when Andy Delort, neo-striker from Nice, told him that he wanted to put the selection of the Fennecs on hold for a year to devote himself to his new club.
He cut his teeth in Qatar
A native of Champigny-sur-Marne, in the Paris region, Djamel Belmadi was trained at PSG before joining OM for several years. He has also played in other leagues such as Spain and England, where he played in Manchester City, but also in Qatar. “He is an attacking, technical midfielder who likes to provoke the ball in his foot. He is a bit like the prototype of the Maghrebian player. A real ball player”, summarizes Mehdi Dahak. Two strokes of blood in March 2001 also forged a reputation for bad character. In a heavy loss to Egypt, he threw away his Algerian jersey, tasting little of being replaced. Rebelote, a week later at the Vélodrome: tired of the insults of the public who saw badly to see his team fighting for maintenance, he threw his shoes to the spectators.
Converted into a coach at the end of his football career, Djamel Belmadi cut his teeth in Qatar. He first coached Al-Duhail (ex-Lekhwiya) then climbed the ranks for the national team of the gas emirate in 2014. He settled down a bit on the sidelines: “He is very friendly with his players off the field but once on the lawn, there are no more friendships “, breathes Mehdi Dahak.
“He is professional and demanding. He does not let anything go. The questions have to be precise, otherwise he does not like it. He has calmed down a little compared to his beginnings but we must recognize that by laying these foundations from the start, he calmed the enthusiasm, “says the publication director of DZfoot.
“There is a very big expectation around Algeria”
We have to admit that his methods work. Under his leadership, Algeria qualified for the CAN in Egypt and won the competition for the second time in its history, 29 years after the coronation of 1990. In the final, luck of fate, he defeated his friend’s Senegal. childhood Aliou Cissé – the two men grew up in Champigny-sur-Marne. He was crowned men’s coach that year.
>> To read also: Cissé – Belmadi, crossed destinies of two contenders for the throne of Africa
Since then, Algeria has continued its journey. She qualified for the 3e qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. “The real objective of Djamel Belmadi”, underlines Mehdi Dahak. She is especially undefeated for 33 matches, when starting the competition in Cameroon.
“Everything is successful for him, so we can not go against his speech. Today in Algeria, he is more popular than the President of the Republic”, notes the director of publication of DZfoot. The Algerian coach has also supported the Hirak, the Algerian protest movement demanding a change of regime.
What to hope for the double in the African Cup? “We are on an incredible dynamic but it can be double-edged. There is a very big expectation”, notes Mehdi Dahak. “In Cameroon, her worst enemy is likely to be herself. It’s difficult to come as a favorite.” A statute that Belmadi had spent the competition to refute in 2019. Today, he can no longer hide.