Belmadi backs CAF’s stadium sanctions

Belmadi backs CAF’s stadium sanctions
Djamel Belmadi, coach of Algeria

by Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Sep 08, 2021. 09:00

Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi has backed the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) decision to sanction stadiums if they are not deemed up to standard.

CAF notably forced Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Mali, Namibia and Niger to ‘host’ their matches at neutral venues after their usual home grounds failed to meet the standard needed for this past week’s 2022 World Cup Qualifying group stage fixtures.

This included Algeria’s match away to Burkina Faso on Tuesday, which was played in Marrakesh in Morocco rather than in the Stallions’ stronghold of Ouagadougou.

“Countries that can’t host national teams should play elsewhere,” said Belmadi ahead of the game, as quoted by BBC Sport.

“It’s a radical decision, and it should not be an eternal one. We have to upgrade stadiums around the continent. I’m happy that since [CAF president Patrice] Motsepe has come into office, he’s put a lot of importance on the stadiums that we play in.”

Pinpointing infrastructure and refereeing as two key issues in African football, Belmadi also slammed the quality of his nation’s own pitch in Blida, where his side beat Djibouti 8-0 last week.

“The pitch is the most important thing for us. We should have asked to move our match abroad as there is no point playing at home,” he explained.

“I feel like I’ve been talking about this problem since I got here in July 2018. Not much has changed and if things do, it is only for a match. There is no consistency in the upkeep that a national stadium needs.”

Algeria will return to Group A WCQ action with back-to-back matches against Niger in October.

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