Friday Dec 11, 2020. 11:00
Algerian midfielder Haris Belkebla has explained that he was never ‘blacklisted’ by national team coach Djamel Belmadi.
The Brest player was infamously dropped from Algeria’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations squad after he exposed his backside during a live stream.
Video footage showed Belkebla exposing himself on Twitch while teammate Alexandre Oukidja played Fortnite.
This saw the midfielder cut from Algeria’s AFCON squad by coach Belmadi, and Belkebla could only watch on as the Fennec Foxes went on to claim the title in Egypt midway through last year – a success he could have played a major role in.
Belkebla has since returned to the national team set up – he has appeared in two of Algeria’s 2022 AFCON qualifiers, including a 22-minute cameo in the away game against Zimbabwe last month – and he has revealed that Belmadi always kept the door open for him to rejoin the Foxes.
“Coach Belmadi was very important. He’s like a big brother to us,” the 26-year-old is quoted by DZ Foot.
“He tells me things clearly and that I did something stupid, but in his mind he never blacklisted me.
Belkebla added: “If it happens that I perform well in the future, the door is not closed. That encouraged me.
“At that time, I knew that it was only the pitch [how he performed] that mattered. If I prove myself again and I am serious and give everything as I have always done, there is no reason for it [a return to the national team] not to work.”