The coach of Algeria national team, Georges Leekens, has Tuesday, January 24 quit his position following the team’s embarrassing exit from the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon 2017).
AFCON 2017: Algeria Coach Resigns After Abysmal Outing
Algeria’s Desert Foxes came into the tournament in Gabon as one of the favourites, but were eliminated in the group stage after failing to win a single game.
“For the good of all I decided to quit even though I do it with heart ache, and I wish all the success in the world to the national side,” the Belgian said in a statement on the Algerian Football Federation website.
After Monday’s 2-2 draw with Senegal in Franceville, Leekens had indicated he hoped to continue as coach, with the next target being qualification of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, AP writes.
“But given the pressure on the federation and the national team, I preferred to end my contract out of friendship for the president of the FAF (Algerian Football Federation) who deserves respect,” he added.
Leekens, 67, was appointed for what was his second spell with the team in October in a bid to reverse their flagging fortunes.
He was at least expected to take the Foxes into the latter stages at Afcon 2017 given the array of talents in the side. Stars which include reigning African Footballer of the Year Riyad Mahrez, his Leicester team-mate Islam Slimani, Porto playmaker Yacine Brahimi and Napoli’s Faouzi Ghoulam.
They are also struggling to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia having been drawn in a tough group that also features Nigeria, Cameroon and Zambia.
After two rounds of games, the Algeria team sit at the bottom of Group B – five points adrift of runaway leaders Nigeria who beat them 3-1 in a qualification game in Akwa Ibom late last year.
The priority for the former top-ranked African side will now be to secure a place in the 2018 World Cup, but the Super Eagles, who failed to qualify for Afcon 2017, have that in control.