Algeria has made the significant decision to part ways with Coach Djamel Belmadi, just a day after the national team’s unexpected and humiliating exit from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.
The shock 1-0 loss to Mauritania on Tuesday sealed Algeria’s fate, placing the 2019 AFCON champions at the bottom of Group D. This marks a disappointing continuation from their elimination in the group stage of the 2021 finals.
Walid Sadi, president of Algeria’s football federation, confirmed the separation, stating, “I met with Djamel, and we reached an amicable agreement to dissolve the association.” Expressing gratitude, Sadi added, “We thank Djamel for everything he did for the team and wish him good luck in the rest of his career.”
Sadi acknowledged the bitter nature of Algeria’s tournament exit through messages posted on X, offering apologies to the fans and the Algerian people. He stated, “We apologize to the fans of the national team and the Algerian people after we worked hard and provided ideal conditions for our players to shine.”
Djamel Belmadi, 47, took charge of the Desert Foxes in August 2018, signing a contract extension a year ago that was supposed to keep him in the post until 2026. Belmadi, born in Paris, had a storied history with Algerian football, captaining the national team at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations and leading them to the AFCON title in 2019 in Egypt during a 35-match unbeaten run, setting an African record.
While their AFCON defense in Cameroon in 2021 was short-lived, Belmadi faced further challenges as Algeria failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. Despite these setbacks, he continued as coach, overseeing Les Verts’ impressive qualification for the 2023 finals.
However, disappointment struck again in the current AFCON, with draws against Angola and Burkina Faso followed by an emotional defeat to Mauritania. Several players left the field in tears, reflecting the emotional toll of the unexpected outcome.
President Sadi emphasized a need for a “real revolution” to restore Algeria’s standing both continentally and internationally. He pledged to correct past mistakes, stating, “We promise to put the train back on track and renew the days of brilliance and victories for Algerian football.” The announcement opens a new chapter for Algerian football as they embark on a search for a new leader to guide the national team.