Saturday Dec 23, 2017. 09:00
Algerian attacking midfielder Sofiane Feghouli says missing out on the 2018 World Cup was a major blow, and believes the national team needs to rebuild for the future.
The Fennec Foxes suffered abject failure in their attempt to qualify for a third successive World Cup tournament, finishing at the bottom of the ‘group of the death’ behind Nigeria, Cameroon and Zambia.
In response, Feghouli - who has been sidelined by new coach Rabah Madjer - says that it is frustrating that Algeria won’t have the chance to try and repeat their heroics of 2014, when they advanced into the last 16 and were narrowly beaten by eventual champions Germany.
“Four years ago there were extraordinary, magical moments. It has been said millions of times,” Feghouli, who wore the number 10 jersey in the team’s 2014 campaign, told Le Foot.
“What we did, it will certainly remain unique in Algerian football. Unfortunately, we are not going to participate in this 2018 World Cup. It's very frustrating.
“It's a shame because I really wanted to make our people happy. I have always had this motivation and this perception of things, namely that when I wear the jersey of Algeria, it is for the people that I do it.
“I am very disappointed not to have been able to give as much happiness or happiness as in 2014. There are failures, it's part of the sport.”
The 27-year-old, who currently plays for Turkish giants Galatasaray, believes the chopping and changing of coaches by the Algerian federation has not helped matters.
"I think there were a lot of things that contributed to the Algerian team not qualifying for the World Cup,” he explained.
“Sportingly, there were players who were not at the top [in terms of form]. There have also been a lot of coaching changes.
“At one point, we lacked humility and character. You have to know how to question yourself. There have been failures in the past. There will be more. We have to rebuild on that and move on.”
He added, “I think in the history of the National Team of Algeria, during its great matches, great victories she played with heart and rage.
“As you said, we have to go back to basics. We must go back to a simple game, live and fight.
“This is how we characterise the Algerian player. He is a fighter and he is someone who is not afraid. Above all, we must have humility, that's how Algeria will rise again.”