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Djamel Belmadi: I had prepared to quit as Algeria coach

Algeria coach, Djamel Belmadi says he has decided to keep his job after a suggestion for mutual termination was rejected by his employers.

The ex-international – who has been in charge of the Fennecs since 2018 and guided them to the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) title in 2019 – endured a torrid start to the year 2022.

He led Algeria to a failed title defence in Cameroon where they suffered a group stage exit from the 2021 Afcon. It was then followed by a World Cup qualification failure later in March, losing dramatically to Cameroon via the away goal rule.

Speaking for the first time since the painful loss last month, Belmadi revealed the Algerian Football Federation encouraged him to take time to think through his decision.

“I had a contract until 2022 without a goal. I wondered if I could start over with so much energy and passion.

“I had prepared to leave my positions, so I gave my managers the opportunity to quietly end this contract by shaking hands. It was not accepted.

“It wasn’t a layoff because I wouldn’t be there today (if I had stopped). It was a proposal to see the position of those responsible towards me. They wanted me to continue,” he explained in an interview with FAF TV.

The future

Looking forward, Belmadi stated: “We had time to think about our strategy for the future, my life comes down to my family life and football.

“We thought about the new breath we were going to breathe into this group [of players], to create another dynamic.

“We are not going to throw everything in the trash, not to question everything, because I remember when we arrived in 2018.

“In the two games against Cameroon, it is not the best team that qualified, that’s the cruelty of football.

“This group has resources and obviously, with or without qualification, many things had to happen. Many difficulties will arise, there is no longer any easy match in Africa, we must recreate a dynamic, return a synergy.”