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Afcon 2021: Belmadi says Algeria’s early exit is ‘total failure’

16:04 SAST 2022/01/21
Djamel Belmadi - algeria - afcon 2021
The 2019 champions did not win a game in Cameroon and only managed to score a single goal in three group games

Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi has described his team’s disappointing exit from the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations as a ‘total failure’.

The Desert Foxes suffered a 3-1 loss to Ivory Coast in their final Group E match on Thursday, with Sofiane Bendebka scoring their only goal in the tournament after coming on as a second-half substitute at the Japoma Stadium.

The North Africans struggled to convert their chances in Cameroon and had their African record 35-game unbeaten streak ended by a 1-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea last Sunday.

Prior to the competition, Algeria defeated Ghana 3-0 in their last warm-up game but after three matches at the tournament they found themselves at the bottom of Group E with just a point which came in their goalless draw against Sierra Leone.

“We prepared 100 per cent for this competition. We wanted to defend our title. We did not get what we were looking for. It's a total failure,” Belmadi was quoted by DZ Foot.

“Nothing came together as we would have liked. I'm not going to talk about problems right now. Perhaps a lack of freshness linked to many things.

“Ivory Coast proved to be better than us tonight. They were effective and gave their all. We lacked efficiency. They were precise upfront. This is what we missed in this Afcon.

“Talking about a crisis may not be appropriate. We failed, yes. We did in three games what we haven't had in three years. This feeling of defeat is bitter, even detestable.

“We are in doubt. We will have to analyse this and get back for the March break. A World Cup is not anything. We will have to work now.”

Algeria will shift their attention to qualifying for the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar later this year. The draw for the final play-off round involving 10 African countries is scheduled for Saturday in Douala.