Tuesday Apr 26, 2022. 11:00
Algeria national team coach Djamel Belmadi has broken his silence and admitted that he is “still in shock” over the Desert Foxes’ 2022 World Cup qualification defeat to Cameroon.
The North Africans were stunned in the dying seconds of the second leg of their qualifying playoff against the Indomitable Lions, missing out on a place at the Qatar tournament in incredibly dramatic fashion.
The defeat left Belmadi distraught and he remained silent from the date of the match on March 29 until an interview with the Algerian football federation published this past weekend.
While confirming that he will continue in his role as coach, Belmadi revealed that the loss to Cameroon will continue to loom over him and the national team.
“This date will remain forever marked in our heads, whether it be the actors, main players [players, technical staff], but also obviously for those who follow the national team,” Belmadi is quoted by DZ Foot.
He added, “When I talk about dramatic scenario, I don’t just mean the last seconds but the 126 minutes that marked this meeting. It won’t go away so easily for me.”
Belmadi said he is angered that the project of qualifying for the World Cup was ruined by an action of just a few seconds.
“It is a great disappointment, a great sadness and other feelings, like anger,” he explained.
“We cannot say that we have fully recovered from this, that we have already moved on, that would be lying. We are still in this shock.
“I who am totally invested in my work, I spend my job almost at the centre of my life with, of course, the family, and it’s a heavy thing to bear.”
The coach said he will recover eventually: “Time will put things back in order, even if it will always remain engraved in us. It’s a little better, each day is enough, but it’s still quite fresh for now.”
Belmadi revealed that he was prepared to be removed from his position in the wake of the failure to qualify, but the federation instead gave him a vote of confidence.
“It’s not a resignation, otherwise I wouldn’t be there, but it was a proposal intended to see what position those responsible for football in Algeria had in relation to me,” he said.
“They wanted to see me continue, and it was essential for me. If they don’t want me, I leave, I leave that to others.”