In Algeria, a new federation president to restore local football’s continental influence

The Algerian Football Federation (FAF) has a new president. Walid Sadi succeeded Djahid Zefizef on September 21, who was forced to resign in July by the government after failing to be elected to the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Djahid Zefizef himself had succeeded Charaf-Eddine Amara a year earlier, who had left his position after the elimination of the selection in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

Walid Sadi, who was the only candidate in the running after all other candidates were invalidated, is expected to occupy the position for sixteen months starting September 26. “The federation needs stability. It’s not possible to change president every year, because not much is moving forward.”deplores Noureddine Ould Ali, former coach of the under-23s. “It’s not normal, adds the coach, that such a great football country which has produced very great players is so little influential on a continent where its selection and its clubs have won numerous titles. »

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For the new boss of the FAF, the task promises to be all the tougher as his mandate began with a controversy. During a speech given shortly after his election, Walid Sadi surprised his audience by declaring that “this doesn’t[était] not up to the federation to take care of the training of young people”while Algeria is notoriously failing in this area.

Strongly criticized, the leader finally announced that from the 2024-2025 season, all Ligue 1 clubs controlled by public companies (MC Alger, USM Alger, CS Constantine, JS Saoura, JS Kabylie, MC Oran, ES Sétif) will have to have a training center.

The problem of match-fixing

This initiative goes in the right direction, according to Mohamed Hirèche, former president of MC Algiers (2018-2019, but he wants the president of the federation to go further: “I think that all Ligue 1 clubs should be controlled by public companies, and not half, so that there is a certain equality, and not a gap between those who benefit from these companies and the others, much more in economic difficulty. »

A reasoning shared by a former Algerian international, who insisted on remaining anonymous: “In the 1970s and 1980she recalls, all clubs were run by state companies. This allowed Algeria, during the 1982 World Cup in particular, to rely on high-level local players, such as Rabah Madjer, Lakhdar Belloumi, Ali Fergani, Salah Assad and others. Currently, the selection relies mainly on its dual nationals, because the locals do not have the same level. If we train our players better, our championship will improve and we will also be able to count on those who play in the country. »

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Other challenges are to be taken up by the new president of the FAF. Making the Ligue 1 and 2 championships more professional, even if they have been so in theory since 2010, is one. “We need to improve certain aspects such as marketing, the competition calendar, to make the competitions more visible. The country has improved the quality of many stadiums, but we need to go further,” estimates Mohamed Hirèche, aware that the Algerian championship is less competitive than those of Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

Added to this is the problem of corruption, particularly that of match-fixing, a scourge faced by Walid Sadi’s predecessors. “did not attack each other with great ardor”judges this former club manager.

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