It has been one month since Algeria crashed out of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, but the emotional fallout from the elimination continues to reverberate across the North African nation.
The Fennecs were seconds away from qualifying for their fifth World Cup before Cameroon forward Karl Toko Ekambi extinguished all hopes with a dramatic last-minute goal at the Stade Mustapha Tchaker stadium in Blida, Algeria.
A few days after the match, Charafeddine Amara, the incumbent president of the Algerian federation (FAF), tendered his resignation and accepted responsibility for Algeria’s absence from the tournament in Qatar.
His departure will become official at the end of May and a new president will be appointed at FAF’s general assembly.
In addition to Amara’s resignation, however, questions were raised surrounding the future of Algeria’s head coach Djamel Belmadi.
Prior to the first leg in Cameroon, he announced that, if Algeria failed to qualify for the World Cup, he would “take responsibility” and table his own resignation.
After the second leg in Algeria, however, Belmadi preferred to ask for some reflection time before making a final decision.
Since his arrival in 2018, the 46 year-old has been broadly recognised as one of Africa’s best young managers.
He helped Algeria win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and subsequently led them on a 35-match unbeaten run, which set a continental record.
But the past six months have been trying for the Parisian-born tactician; Algeria crashed out of the group stages of the 2021 Nations Cup and followed that up with missing out on the World Cup.
After a month of reflection, Belmadi finally sat down for a 50-minute interview in which he touched upon his reasons for continuing with the Algerian national team.
“I proposed rescinding my contract to my superiors and I gave them the opportunity to end the contract. It was rejected,” he said.
“The second reason (for staying), is the supporters, and our people as a whole, who supported and believed in us, my staff, myself, and our players, despite this crisis.”
After explaining his motives for staying on as coach of Algeria, Belmadi’s interview turned increasingly controversial.