JOHANNESBURG - Algeria's long-standing
problem in front of goal again proved their undoing but the
north Africans said they had learnt much despite going out of
the World Cup at the first stage.
A dramatic last gasp defeat to the United States in Pretoria
on Wednesday condemned Algeria to last place in Group C, with
just a single point from their three games and no goals.
A 0-0 draw with England last Friday will become a
long-standing highlight but coach Rabah Saadane said he believed
the Algeria side, whose qualification for the tournament in
South Africa was a surprise after years in the doldrums, were
now headed to an exciting future.
"We didn't expect miracles at the World Cup," he said in
matter-of-fact tone after the loss at Loftus Versfeld. "But we
are satisfied despite going out.
"We've learnt a great deal and acquired a lot of experience.
It's a step by step process."
Algeria's scoring woes stretch back several years and are
highlighted by the fact they have not scored a goal in open play
since January's African Nations Cup quarter-final win over the
In seven matches since, their only goal has come from a
penalty in a pre-World Cup warm-up against the United Arab
"Our attacking sector needs more effort. We have to seek
some new players to help find a solution," added the coach.
Saadane has been major proponent of searching the large
Algerian immigrant community in France for international class
players. After qualification, he added nine French-born
footballers to his squad, although of the newcomers only Fouad
Kadir started all three of their World Cup finals matches.
The introduction of second generation players from France
has not always sat well with the rest of the side, squeezing out
home-born players and causing rifts in the team that Saadane has
had trouble plastering over.
He had to deal with a player mutiny before the Nations Cup
in Angola at the start of the year and more friction in South
Africa, after the decision to bench captain Yazid Mansouri, who
had been a mainstay of their qualifying campaign.
But dipping into the Algerian Diaspora to find more talent
will continue to be a priority if Saadane stays on, he said.
One consolation for the Algerians as they headed home was
expressed by captain Antar Yahia, born in Mulhouse on the
Franco-German border, after Wednesday's game: "We did, at the
least, as well as the France team."
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