2023 AFCON: Algeria part company with Djamel Belmadi, Jalel Kadri leaves Tunisia

Source: adomonline

Algeria have parted company with coach Djamel Belmadi and Jalel Kadri has resigned as Tunisia’s boss after both countries exited the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations at the group stage.

Belmadi’s exit came a day after the Desert Foxes’ shock 1-0 loss to Mauritania, which meant the 2019 winners finished bottom of Group D in Ivory Coast.

Kadri announced he was stepping down in a post-match television interview after Tunisia’s 0-0 draw with South Africa in their final Group E game in Korhogo on Wednesday.

“My mission at the head of the Tunisian national team is now over,” Kadri is reported to have said.

Belmadi, 47, took over as coach of the Desert Foxes in August 2018 and signed a contract extension a year ago to remain in the post until 2026.

Kadri was appointed after the 2021 Afcon finals and the 52-year-old led the Carthage Eagles to qualification for the 2022 World Cup, where the North Africans went out in the group stage.

Their departures are the latest in a remarkable series of coaching departures at the ongoing finals in West Africa.

Hosts Ivory Coast dismissed boss Jean-Louis Gasset earlier on Wednesday – even though the Elephants still had hopes of progressing to the last 16 as one of four best-ranked third-placed teams.

On Tuesday, Tom Saintfiet resigned as coach of The Gambia after the Scorpions finished bottom of Group C while Ghana sacked Chris Hughton after the four-time champions suffered an early elimination.

Belmadi leaves after Algeria’s ‘bitter exit’

Algeria's Riyad Mahrez
Image caption: have suffered successive group-stage exits from the Africa Cup of Nations finals

Born in Paris, Belmadi captained Algeria at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations and, as coach, he guided his country to the Afcon title in 2019 in Egypt.

But their defence of the trophy in Cameroon two years ago was short-lived, as their 35-match unbeaten run came to an end and the North Africans finished bottom of their group.

Walid Sadi, president of Algeria’s football federation, said their 2023 Afcon campaign ended with “a bitter exit” in a series of messages posted on X.

“I met with Djamel and we reached an amicable agreement to dissolve the association,” Sadi said.

“We thank Djamel for everything he did for the team and wish him good luck in the rest of his career.”

“We apologise to the fans of the national team and the Algerian people after we worked hard and provided ideal conditions for our players to shine.”

Just three months after their early exit from the 2021 finals Algeria also failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, losing on away goals in a play-off against Cameroon after conceding a last-gasp goal in the second leg at home.

But Belmadi stayed on and Les Verts had the best record of any team in qualifying for the 2023 finals.

Sadi said there would be “a real revolution” to restore Algeria’s position “continentally and internationally”.

“We promise to correct the mistakes of the past with one goal: to put the train back on track, and to renew the days of brilliance and victories for Algerian football,” he added.

Kadri quits after failing to hit target

Kadri took over Tunisia on a permanent basis following their quarter-final elimination at the 2021 edition of Afcon, replacing Mondher Kebaier.

When the Carthage Eagles failed to make it past the group stage at the 2022 World Cup – despite pulling off a shock win over then-defending champions France – he offered his resignation.

However, the Tunisian Football Federation (FTF) rejected it and instead extended his contract for 12 more months.

The North Africans finished bottom of their group in Ivory Coast, falling to a shock 1-0 defeat against Namibia before draws with South Africa and Mali.

Speaking after the draw with South Africa, Kadri said his contract would automatically expire because Tunisia had failed to reach the semi-finals, which was the minimum requirement of the FTF.

When asked if he had officially resigned, Kadri responded: “This is my decision and in my contract.”

Kadri said he bore full responsibility for Tunisia’s disappointing end to their campaign.

“The defeat against Namibia in the first match affected us psychologically, and we shouldn’t have lost,” he said.

“We improved against Mali, and against South Africa, but we were not efficient in attack.”

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