With their victory at the 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations title in Egypt, Djamel Belmadi’s side surged from 68th to 40th in July’s FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking and from 13th to fourth among African teams.
Reflecting on the journey his team have been on, the coach had this to say: “As soon as I took charge of Algeria, I made a point of conveying to the players my desire to be crowned 2019 African champions in Egypt. But many doubted that we’d be able to achieve that. Despite the tough journey, however, we managed to win this highly sought-after prize.
The #AFCON champions are on the rise ??⬆️
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) August 1, 2019
“Don’t forget where we were back then and how far we’ve come. Ten months ago, when I took over, I found them in a very difficult situation. Now we’ve managed to win the country’s first trophy on foreign soil, a trophy the Algerian people have waited many long years for. Being crowned continental champions in such a short time was a wonderful achievement, especially since we finished the tournament with both the best attack and defence. That wasn’t easy.
“We won the title by beating Senegal, the continent’s top ranked nation in the FIFA Ranking and a participant at Russia 2018. Our opponents in the final were a very strong team, but we deserved the title.”
But when Djamel Belmadi, who has been nominated for The Best FIFA Men’s Coach 2019 award, took over, he felt that the same squad was capable of once again being among the best in Africa. During their triumphant AFCON campaign, they recorded impressive victories over Senegal (twice), Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria.