It is time to stop moaning and start giving credit to the Algerian national team. After a disastrous Africa Cup of Nations campaign, it’s time to be positive again. New president. New manager. New era.
There are some people that are always looking for something to complain about, but there’s nothing you can do about pessimists. Before the Guinea match, Algeria had won just 1 of their last 6 matches. So we cannot underestimate the victory.
Even when the squad was announced, you could already tell that Lucas Alcaraz knows what he is doing. Having visited most of the players in Europe he has given a good, welcoming impression that creates a good atmosphere within the dressing room. A breath of fresh air.
Now, it is time to find the perfect balance between these players and the ones that play in Algeria. And Zetchi’s brilliant work at Paradou could be the key to this. Calling up Youcef Atal was a big risk considering he was playing in the second division, but it shows the North Africans are willing to try new things. And that is exactly what we have all been asking for. Opportunities like this will only help domestically-based players improve and with Paradou playing in the top division next season, these young stars will now be playing at a higher level.
It was great to see Sofiane Feghouli back in the squad. The main star of the Desert Foxes a few years ago, Feghouli showed us exactly what we were missing and he had a big impact on the game when he came on. Soudani came on and scored the winning goal. Boudebouz was also on the bench. Also, we now have the options on the bench to change a game if we need to, something that was painfully absent at the AFCON.
Guinea are not an easy team to beat. They have some fantastic players and Algeria made them look average. It was a nervy start, but with an empty stadium and having fasted all day, it was a positive performance and something to can build on. That was Algeria’a first win against Guinea in 17 years. Wins breed confidence, and that’s exactly that Les Verts need right now.
We now go into Alcaraz’s first competitive game in charge against Togo looking to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations. That has to be the minimum target, and I am very confident that he will achieve it. And who knows, maybe this could be the start of a very exciting time for Algeria.
It is time to fully get behind all the staff and look ahead to a new era of Algerian football.