The Algerians received a triumphant welcome upon arrival at the Algiers International Airport after their narrow elimination, late in the round of 16 against eventual Fifa World Cup champions, Germany.
The entire nation was proud with their performance at the tournament. Nobody had a harsh word for anybody. Locals partied away, filled with the joy that their team is not easy for even the best to beat.
Algeria are now Africa’s number one team in the Fifa rankings, toppling Cote D’Ivoire to the 24th position, and new coach Christian Gourcuff has voiced his desire to build on the success of former coach Vahid Halilhodzic, whom fans and officials implored in vain to stay on after the bright Brazilian adventure.
Djabou, Algeria's architect
One of the architects of the Fennec’s brilliance at the competition is Abdelmoumene Djabou of Tunisian outfit, Club Africain.
The 27-year-old attacking midfielder wasn't a key player with Algeria due to his lack of European experience. Although he was called up to the team in 2010, he has won only 11 caps since then, including his impressive appearances at the 2014 World Cup.
In Brazil, Djabou netted two goals – one in his side’s 4-2 triumph over South Korea in the group stage and a memorable strike against Germany in their honourable 2-1 exit from the showpiece.
Besides his two goals, which make him the team’s top scorer alongside Islam Slimani, Djabou served as an offensive pivot of the Algerian team, using his superior technical abilities of passing and reading the opposing defence to create a number of goalscoring opportunities. Although most of the chances were wasted, his robust input was highly appreciated by many pundits.
One of the best local Algerian players of his generation
Djabou has played his club career essentially in Algeria and Tunisia, winning the Algerian Cup in 2012 with ES Setif, with whom he also won the North African Super Cup a year earlier.
In the 2011-2012 season, he was named Algeria's best player, beating his national teammates from the foreign legion to clinch the prestigious prize. He has also won the Algerian league's best player awards in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons.
Recently, in 2013, Djabou finished top scorer in the Tunisia league with Club Africain, which he joined in 2012 from Setif, after short spells at Algerian teams MC El Eulma and USM El Harrach.
As Algerians brace themselves for Frenchman Gourcuff’s revolution to rejuvenate the Fennec and develop grass roots football, many expect Djabou to fit into the coach’s plans in order to show more of his skills to many whose appetite has been whetted by the midfielder’s conduct at the World Cup.