Algeria land former player Djamel Belmadi as new boss after Carlos Queiroz rules himself out

Algeria land former player Djamel Belmadi as new boss after Carlos Queiroz rules himself out
Belmadi is the new coach of Algeria, a side that failed to make it to this summer's World Cup. AFP
Updated 02 August 2018

Algeria land former player Djamel Belmadi as new boss after Carlos Queiroz rules himself out

Algeria land former player Djamel Belmadi as new boss after Carlos Queiroz rules himself out
  • Iran boss distanced himself from the job as Les Fennecs boss
  • Belmadi the new boss with qualification for the African Cup of Nations the first target

LONDON: Algeria have ended their search for a new coach, appointing former international Djamel Belmadi on a four-year contract. Les Fennecs had been looking for a new man since June and had been strongly linked with a move for Iran boss Carlos Queiroz. Belmadi’s appointment ends the search to replace Rabah Madjer that was threatening to turn into a saga.
Queiroz was the latest big name to distance himself from the job. With the 65-year-old’s contract with Iran expiring on July 31 without an extension yet agreed, the former Real Madrid and Portugal boss was heavily linked with the Algerian hotseat, with reports suggesting Queiroz was very keen on the move.
“After any World Cup there are always lots of speculation and reports,” a source close to Queiroz told Arab News. “There was no truth in these rumors.”
The source refused to comment on whether the ex-Manchester United assistant, who guided Iran to four points at the 2018 World Cup in the country’s best-ever performance on the global stage, would stay on in Tehran until the 2019 Asian Cup in January.
Algeria’s needs were more pressing, however, with the Algerian Football Federation keen to make an appointment as soon as possible with qualification for the 2019 African Nations Cup resuming in September.
“Djamel Belmadi is the new coach of the Algerian national team following the agreement found between him and the president Kheireddine Zetchi,” said a statement released by the federation. The statement added that the first target would be qualification for the African Nations Cup, though Belmadi’s contract is set to run until the 2022 World Cup.
Fans in the country had become frustrated with the lack of a concrete decision despite the pronouncements from Zetchi on Monday that the new man would be in place within a matter of hours.
The president revealed that the new tactician was a “global coach, very motivated to coach the national team.”
That the mystery man turned out to be Belmadi may be something of a disappointment for fans who had been expecting a bigger name. Since the end of the World Cup, a tournament that took place without Algeria, Herve Renard and Vahid Halilhodzic, along with Queiroz, had both been heavily touted as possible replacements.
Renard impressed in Russia with Morocco despite the team collecting just a single point. The Frenchman is still with the Atlas Lions and pledged his future to Morocco in July, and especially ruled out joining a continental rival.
“Some people talk about my future in the media to sow trouble,” Renard said. 
“Out of respect for Morocco and all Moroccans, I will not leave in any way for another African nation regardless of who it is.”
Former coach Halilhodzic was also in the running. The Bosnian took Algeria to the second round of the 2014 World Cup, where they ran eventual winners Germany close in the knockout match — the Germans needing extra-time to eventually see off the North Africans — and is available after being fired by Japan in April, despite ensuring the Samurai Blue qualified for this summer’s tournament in Russia. 
According to reports, Halilhodzic, also on South Korea’s hitlist should they, as expected, decide to axe Shin Tae-yong, could not agree financial terms with his one-time employers.
Belmadi, a former Manchester City, Marseilles and Southampton midfielder, tasted failure with Qatar in the 2015 Asian Cup when the highly rated team lost all three games in an all West Asian group to crash out in the first round. He did, however, lead Al-Duhail to the last two Qatari league titles.
In July he was replaced in Doha by outgoing Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul. His first competitive game in charge of Algeria will come against the Gambia on Sept. 7. Algeria collected all three points from the Group D opener  back in June 2017 with a 1-0 win over Togo.