Algeria on Thursday named Belgium’s Georges Leekens as replacement for coach Milovan Rajevac who was sacked from the post a little over three months.
It could be recalled that the 67-year-old had been in charge of the desert foxes in the past (2003). He takes over from the Serbian (Rejavac) with a task of qualifying Algeria to Russia 2018 World Cup and also lead the team to AFCON 2017 in Gabon.
The team recorded a 1-1 draw against Cameroon in a their first World Cup qualifying group match in which they also have Nigeria and Zambia to contend with.
As a matter of fact, Algeria drew the first blood in the 7th minutes of the game but failed to defend and lost the lead in less than 25 minutes of play which shows their vulnerability at the back line.
Following an impressive outing at the 2014 World cup when the team qualified for the 2nd round of the tournament, they have since became a threat to any team on the continent bearing in mind the fact that they posses top quality players. In the tough encounter with Cameroon the Foxes should have won the game actually but they failed to convert a couple of chance which saw the coach become the casualty after talks with the Algerian football federation.
It should be noted that Rajevac, 62, was not a bad coach,it could have been a bad day in office as he had previously led Ghana, when they became only the third African country to reach the World Cup quarter-finals at the 2010 tournament in South Africa. Let’s just say it is a tall order where the word average cannot be condoned.
With regards to the new coach, Leekens, he was previously coach of Belgium (1997-1999 and 2010-2012) and Tunisia (2014-2015). In his first spell with Belgium, he led the country to the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals after a two-legged win against the Republic of Ireland in the qualifying play-off. He was sacked from his role as federal coach after a disappointing 3rd place in the World Cup group stage failed to qualify Belgium for the second round. In 2010 Leekens returned to coach Belgium in a contract which lasted until 2012.
Clearly, Algeria are one of the favourites for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations title but the question is, if he can quickly put coordinate the side with 16 days to the world cup qualifying tie against Nigeria who also recently hired a technical adviser, and highly motivated with regards to their last game.
Algeria have been drawn in Group B at the January 14-February 5 tournament in Gabon along with Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Senegal.