Victorious for their first outing since March 29, the Greens of Djamel Belmadi certainly won the three points, but they also delivered a performance rich in lessons.
The National Team Djamel Belmadi version will experience two eras. The first, pre-March 29, 2022, was rich in success (2019 African Cup of Nations, prestigious victories against many great nations in Africa and South America, 35 games in a row without defeat) before experiencing a serious setback in Cameroon then against Cameroon.
The second era, meanwhile, began on June 4, 2022. Algeria is obviously not starting from scratch, but the serious need for renewal has experienced a first stage against Uganda. The victory (2-0) was certainly important for the first day of qualification for the 2022 World Cup, but above all it had to lay the foundations for a new story.
We are not nothing, and we will not be everything
The first lesson of this game was… off the pitch. The organization of the match at the Stade du 5 Juillet 1962 definitively ratified the farewell to a Mustapha Tchaker Stadium which had become very cumbersome for Algeria, as its dilapidation contrasted with the high ambitions of the Greens. Although there were no crowds, the meeting was properly managed and the sale of tickets via the internet, which should spread to all the stadiums in the country, is a significant step forward and should be welcomed. Flat, on the other hand, on the lawn, inevitably worn by the multiplication of the matches which were disputed there.
Popular support, meanwhile, has renewed for his team and his coach. If the supporters did not fill the enclosure, both for the weakness of the adversary and for the novelty that constituted, they multiplied the songs of homage to Djamel Belmadi, to Youcef Belaïli or to the fatherland as a whole. This is probably the best way to get off to a good start for EN, which has already been forgiven for its two failures in CAN and for the qualification for the World Cup.
The defense at 3, is it for later?
While it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions from a single meeting and in the absence of an indisputable starter like Riyad Mahrez, there have however been some signs of what Djamel Belmadi wants for the future.
The 4-3-3, classic formation par excellence and used by the coach since its inception, will not be abandoned for many reasons. The first of these is that it is a fairly simple diagram for players to assimilate because it is often used in clubs, which therefore facilitated their coordination and their bearings. The second is that the animation set up in this diagram gives great importance to the wingers and therefore allows Youcef Belaïli, man of the match, or Adam Ounas, author of an excellent entry, to shine. The work of the full-backs, as a result, is greater and requires better coordination.
What areas of progress?
Obviously, the first release of this new EN was not going to be flamboyant. The opponent, renowned for the quality of his defense, was not going to facilitate a river score either. However, Algeria, although partly renewed, did not start from a blank sheet and yet did indeed highlight its shortcomings.
The state of the lawn did not facilitate the game, of course. But what can explain the few combinations between Bensebaïni and Belaïli, who know each other perfectly? Why did Zorgane, who is not a newcomer to the Greens, find it so difficult to place himself next to his compatriots and midfielders Bennacer and Zerrouki? How to explain the difficulty of the Algerians to do a well-organized pressing and to corner their opponent?
The most questionable points are, in fact, Algeria’s main areas of progress. Some names (Bensebaïni, Ghezzal) have not been the authors of good performances while others (Slimani in particular) have for them the excuse of lack of physical condition or the end of a trying season.
For Djamel Belmadi, the essential was therefore assured against Uganda. However, it will be necessary to correct as soon as possible the weaknesses and errors seen, and which, for the most part, do not date from this meeting but well from almost a year (the friendly match against Mali had highlighted them) . It is through the game and the solidity of the project that we will find, as soon as possible, the heights of African football.