Great analysis from dzfox on algerian soccer

When Vahid was declared coach by the FAF I was deeply disappointed. There was a lot of talk about a top class coach and I’d never heard of him. I didn’t want any of the coaches they’d talked about anyway, i wanted a Dutch ‘total football’ coach because a lot of Algerian players can play in different positions (defenders scoring etc), also because every member of the team needed to take reponsibility and defend when not in posession – I got used to the sight of players not bothering to track back or give a damn when they lost the ball (all the worse when they were DMs – Yebda). But I followed the team and the team started playing football. I mean real football. Passes were connecting, we were shown great interplay by Feghouli and Boudebouz and the fullbacks were playing great balls into the last 3rd. Along the ground and in the air. All of a sudden other teams were on the receiving end of thrashings – from us! I felt sorry for them. The opposition didn’t know what hit them. Egypt was circling the drain and a rejuvenated young Algerian squad was wacking goals in from all angles. We all noticed a lingering problem, the strikers although an improvement were still missing chances. But they were also converting chances. We all regreted Slimani’s miss against Mali, it was painful to watch him miss an open goal that cost us all 3 points. by the Libya game it was all forgotten and Soudanis goals, and Slimanis header vindicated them in the eyes of many against a determined and physical Libyan team. Lets not forget how honourably the team played whilst they were being tackled roughly, punched and spat on by opposition players.

When he first took charge Vahid told the players off, telling them how badly they were playing. One of the team started laughing. (I guess he thought it was funny Algeria getting thrashed and humiliated). Vahid told him off and then told him he hadn’t scored for club or country in months. That was the state of the team. Belhadj and Matmour retired. Thanks for the memories, but I was glad to see them go. As much as they contributed, they could also make costly mistakes. Yahia left. That was disappointing. Even on the bench he could be a big inspiration. And he was the best reader of the game we ever had at CB. People often point to the Morocco game, but the fullbacks were getting eaten alive (Mostefa had been hit at the back of the head and ‘I don’t like to tackle hard’ Mesbah was having a torrid time). And if you’re a centre back and you’ve seen a winger glide past your left back (several times) with ease, you don’t just stand there waiting for him to take a shot, you move to close him down, which created a space down the middle. (Lemmouchia looked back at the defence in total shock during the game – doing his best to stem the tide of one way traffic). Boudebouz was on the bench that day, so was Ferradj who could have made a difference – he knows how to make a proper tackle. 4-0. Lets not forget that scoreline. What bothered me most about Bencheikha is: sitting at home, everyone in my family could see the changes that needed to be made. Even the womenfolk. So much for ‘The General’.

So here we are and everyone knows better than Vahid. The Algerian press are on his back asking why he isn’t playing certain players. Boudebouz, Ziani, Abdoun, Benmoussa, why Metref wasn’t happy, the stories never end. I would love to see any of these reporters actually manage a team. Can you analyse a situation real time and see where the threats / opportunites are? Can you be down 2 goals and hold your nerve and stick to the gameplan? Or do you make changes? You don’t need to have played the game to manage, but even in rare cases like Murinho – he was an interpreter to a great player and manager for years. And AVB was his understudy. having played buys you creadability with the players. Having been lead goalscorer 2 years on the go in France means its not luck, you’re a proven quantity. Vahid felt he was discriminated against (being Muslim) in the Yugoslav national team – not being played enough despite his high goal ratio. Lets face it, he knows how goals come about. His track record speaks for itself.

Vahid has taken anarchy and turned it into order. He does not persist with players who don’t ‘have it’ – Ghezzal, Matmour, but instead takes raw young players and takes them under his wing, builds their confidence, and improves them. We have a solid best 11, and were it not for injuries, we’d have a solid best 23 or 27 even.

I think people generally are very demanding these days of football managers, lets not forget at the world cup we were there to make up the numbers. Same way you get a call from a friend who says ‘hey man we’re a player short, can you make it tonight…’ that was Algeria in 2010. It was an honour just to be there. Only 2 prior World Cup appearances and never getting past the group stage.
I feel that in the next few months and years Algeria will become a team even top European teams will want to avoid. Inshallah all signs point to a team in ascendancy – ranked 19th in the world, as long as the coach is given time to do his job and the supporters show patience and keep their expectations in check.

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