Djamel Belmadi says Algeria must fight to reach the 2022 World Cup

Algeria head coach Djamel Belmadi has said that his team must fight in order to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The North African nation made a fantastic impression at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but they could not replicate the feat four years later after finishing last in their qualifying group itself.

Algeria have since transformed their fortunes under new coach Belmadi and they were recently crowed as the new African Cup of Nations champions. Despite this, Belmadi is not overly confident about the country’s prospects of qualifying for the next World Cup and he gave the example of Cameroon, who have declined since winning the 2017 African Cup of Nations.

He told: “Our first goal is to reach Qatar 2022. The qualifiers will be difficult, long, and uncertain, but we have to shoulder our responsibilities as champions of Africa, and we have to fight to reach the finals. No doubt there will be some difficult and extraordinary circumstances during the African qualifiers, so we have to get used to these conditions to achieve good results. Very often after a major achievement, results get worse and things become hard. The evidence is that Cameroon failed to qualify for Russia and did not do well at the last Africa Cup. We need to learn from these examples before embarking on the qualifiers.”

Algeria’s next big tournament happens to be the 2021 African Cup of Nations and they are favourites to progress through their qualifying group where they have been drawn against Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The qualifying process for the tournament starts next month but prior to that, they have an international friendly against Colombia at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in France. On paper, Colombia are the favourites for the encounter but manager Belmadi will be hoping that his team can remain competent and come up with a positive result. The two teams will be meeting each other for the first time.