Wednesday Mar 02, 2022. 16:00
Algeria head coach Djamel Belmadi has slammed the Japoma Stadium ahead of their clash with Cameroon at the same venue.
Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions are set to host Belmadi’s Desert Foxes at the same venue in the first leg encounter of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification third round on March 25.
Algeria had their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations group games at the Japoma Stadium in January this year despite criticism about the pitch.
“Normally, they play in Yaounde. Exceptionally, they make us play at Japoma. We are traumatised by the pitch, not by the stadium or the city,” Belmadi said on Foot Mercato.
“We are not travelling for tourism. It is not with the same ingredients and just with the desire that we are going to go to the World Cup. Cameroon also wants to go to World Cup.
“It’s going to take something exceptional. I have an optimistic and ambitious nature. We are going to have to play a very, very big game. It’s for a World Cup, it can’t be a simple match.
The second-leg clash is scheduled to be played on March 29 in Algeria and the winner on aggregate between the two teams will qualify for the World Cup finals which will be hosted by Qatar later this year.
With Algeria having endured a disappointing 2021 AFCON campaign – failing to reach the knockout phase as the defending champions – Belmadi is keen to ensure that the Desert Foxes book their spot in the global tournament.
“We want to make our people happy. A qualification in March will allow us to prepare in euphoria. I wanted to do this job to play in a World Cup,” the former Algeria international added.
“This is the last time we have a World Cup in this configuration. Mahrez has played in the World Cup once. It’s a priority for him.”