Defending champions Algeria faced it rough at the ongoing 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, where they were eliminated at the group stages.
The Desert Foxes managed only a single point in Group E and have been criticized for their below-par performances. Captain Riyad Mahrez and head coach Djamel Belmadi have been dealt heavy criticism for letting the team sink that low.
It is on that note that Belmadi came out loud and questioned why fingers are always pointed at him and Mahrez whenever things aren’t going well.
“Do not go and point the finger at players who have given you so much happiness. When things are not going well, you start to point the finger at Mahrez or me.”
“Did you want me to drop him to the bench? I did not change things. I left him in the team,” Belmadi responded to one of the questions after the game.
The North Africans had gone 35 games unbeaten before they lost to Equatorial Guinea and later Ivory Coast.
“This is something we have to swallow. It is hard for us because we are not used to losing. It is a bitter taste. It is horrible,” said Belmadi about Algeria’s general performance.
“We will have to pick ourselves up, digest this, analyse it and lift our heads. The World Cup awaits, and we will need to do better.”
Having finished top of Group A with 14 points in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, Algeria qualified for the playoffs and will know their opponents this weekend.
The draw for the playoffs will have 10 teams including Algeria, Tunisia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Egypt, Ghana, Senegal, Morocco and DR Congo.
It will be conducted in Douala this weekend and games will be played in March.