Belgian Georges Leekens Takes Over As Algeria National Team Coach

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

Belgian coach Georges Leekens has been confirmed as the new man in charge of the Algeria national team.

The former Tunisia and Belgium coach takes over from Milovan Rajevac, who was relieved of his duties as the head coach of the Fennec Foxes after a disappointing result in the opening match of the group stage World Cup qualifiers, in which Algeria drew 1-1 at home to Cameroon.

The draw allowed both teams to take a point from the clash and sit tied for second place in the group after the opening round of fixtures.

The Algerians are in a tough qualifying group that includes Nigeria and Zambia, and in reaction to discontent among the players, as well as the poor result in Blida, the former Ghana coach was sacked, and now Leekens resumes the role he held for a six-month period in 2003 before quitting for personal reasons.

The 67-year-old coach was fired by Belgian club Lokeren on Tuesday, and was quick to accept the role with the North Africans ahead of important assignments in World Cup qualifying and in the continent’s premier competition, the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

2017 AFCON beckons for Georges Leekens

The Nations Cup will be held in Gabon during the months of January and February, and Algeria will be among the favourites for the title, which is currently held by Cote D’Ivoire.

The Fennec Foxes have been drawn in Group B alongside Zimbabwe, Senegal and Tunisia, the side he led to the previous AFCON.

The Nations Cup will be foremost in the experienced coach’s mind, but his first priority will be a tough away match against Nigeria on November 14 in the continuation of Group B World Cup qualifiers. The game carries added significance after the opening stalemate at home left the Algerians on a single point.

The North Africans were the best African team at the last World Cup in Brazil, progressing from a group that included Belgium, Russia and Korea before narrowly losing 2-1 to eventual champions Germany in extra time at the last-16 stage.