Former player Rabah Madjer returns as Algeria coach

Rabah Madjer. PHOTO | BBC 

Algeria have brought back former player Rabah Madjer to succeed the sacked Lucas Alcaraz as national coach, the Algerian federation said on Wednesday.

Madjer, 58, becomes the country's fifth national coach in three years and takes the role for the fourth time.

A poor 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign cost Alcaraz his position as he was sacked after just six months in the role earlier this month.

Madjer is recognised as one of the greatest African players of all time.

His crowning

He is best remembered for his nonchalant back-heeled finish for Porto as the Portuguese side beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in the 1987 European Cup final, prompting his crowning as African Footballer of the Year some months later.

He also captained Algeria to their sole Africa Cup of Nations triumph and was named player of the tournament as the Desert Foxes won the 1990 event on home soil.

Algeria's then record goalscorer when he retired from internationals in 1992, Madjer scored another famous goal as the North Africans beat eventual finalists West Germany 2-1 at the 1982 World Cup.

He also played at the 1986 finals in Mexico but failed to score as Algeria, who had become the first African team to qualify for two World Cups in a row, exited in the group stage once again.

After the end of a playing career that also incorporated spells in France, Spain and Qatar, Madjer first took charge of his country in 1993 but quit after failing to lead the team to the following year's World Cup and Nations Cup.

Eight games

He was appointed again in 1999 but left the post without overseeing a single game before then taking charge from 2001 to 2002, a year when he quit once more after overseeing Algeria's first-round exit at that year's Nations Cup.

Madjer's aim on his return will be to take the team to the 2019 Cup of Nations in Cameroon, with their next qualifier coming against The Gambia in March.

Before that, they must complete their failed World Cup campaign with a fixture against Nigeria next month and try to improve on a run of two wins in eight games.

Three years ago, Algeria were one of just two African teams to reach the knock-out stage at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, impressing in defeat against champions Germany in the Round of 16.

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