The Algerians’ tweets on social media exceeded the defeat and disappointment suffered by the “Desert Warriors” on the grounds of the Jaboa Stadium in the Cameroonian city of Douala, as part of the first round matches of the tournament.
Everyone supports the “Minister of Happiness”
Followers of football stress that it is rare for sports fans to accept defeat and raise the hat to their team when it comes to losing against a weak opponent.
Algerian sports analyst Mohamed Chikhi describes the matter as “natural compared to the achievements of the Greens since 2018”.
Chikhi told Sky News Arabia: “The Algerian public’s reaction to the loss of his team is normal. The Algerian people are authentic and do not deny the good and the beautiful that the Greens presented for 3 years. We forgot with them that the national team can lose one day.”
To raise the morale of the Greens, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune made a phone call to the president of the Algerian Football Federation, Charf Eddine Amara, to express his position in support of the team in all circumstances.
The Ministry of National Defense also issued a statement on behalf of the Chief of Staff of the People’s National Army, Lt. Col. Said Chanegriha, in which he expressed his constant encouragement to the national football team.
The Algerian street insists on calling the national voter Belmadi the title of “Minister of Happiness”, given the great achievements he made for Algerian football since he took over the management of the national team in 2018, succeeding former international player Rabah Madjer.
During this period, Belmadi succeeded in giving Algeria the second African star, and also won the Arab Cup, in an unbeaten campaign with an average of 35 international matches unbeaten.
Former international player Reda Mitam confirmed that the Greens’ career in recent years has raised the ambitions of Algerian football.
Mitam told Sky News Arabia: “The Algerian people realize that the Greens are one of the most prominent African teams closest to entering the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.”
Eyes turn to Thursday
Attention in the Algerian street is turning to Thursday, the decisive date in the path of the African champions, as it requires them to win a heavy result against the Cote d’Ivoire team in a confrontation that experts describe as “fiery”.
The difficulty of the confrontation lies in considering the conditions in which the match is being held, as it will be played on a difficult ground, and at around two o’clock in the afternoon, when the temperature reaches the thirty-three and the humidity is above ninety percent.
The Algerian Football Federation moved to provide better conditions, and succeeded in persuading its African counterpart (CAF) to change the Botswana referee, Joshua Bondo, with whom Algeria has bad memories, and to replace him with Gambian Bakari Gassama as referee for the match.
However, Al-Ittihad, on the other hand, failed to convince the organizers to change the match from Douala Stadium to a better one in terms of ground, as CAF announced the difficulty of moving the match due to lack of time.
The 2010 scenario is looming
Mathematically speaking, the Desert Foxes need to score at least two goals against Côte d’Ivoire, a challenge that brings us to the scenario of the 2010 African Cup in Angola.
The Algerian street remembers how the cuff turned in favor of the Greens in a fiery confrontation against the elephants that ended with a 3-2 victory in 2010, especially the goal scored by former player Majid Bougherra with a header in stoppage time, followed by another header signed by Amer Bouazza.
The former coach of the Algerian team, Rabah Saadani, who led the match between Algeria and Côte d’Ivoire, stressed that a confrontation of this kind needs more direct and frank dialogue between Belmadi and all the players.
Article 74 of the African Nations Cup competition law stipulates the adoption of the result of the direct confrontation and the adoption of the goal difference in the event of two teams being equal in points, and the number of goals scored in all matches.
Former international player Said Borhali confirms that a tie means a loss, and thus exclusion from the competition.
“The Cote d’Ivoire team is the best in the group, and the greens need more focus and perseverance and put aside matters related to weather and ground problems,” Borhali told Sky News Arabia.
The former international player Ammar Amour also believes that Algeria’s chances of qualifying and going far, despite the difficulty of the task, are still there.
Amour told Sky News Arabia: “Belmadi will work on solving the offensive sterility, and the interview will be open and difficult and requires confidence and focus on winning only.”
Amour confirmed that the players got rid of “the psychological barrier that was related to maintaining the outcome of the 35 games unbeaten, and their victory over the Ivorians will recharge their energy again.”