Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi told his players he was quitting after they were eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations finals on Tuesday, the state-run Algerie Presse Service reported on Wednesday.

No announcement has come from Belmadi or the Algerian football federation but the news agency reported Belmadi had made the announcement in the changing room after Algeria were beaten 1-0 by Mauritania in Bouake on Tuesday in a shock result at a tournament already rife with sensational upsets.

Earlier, in the post-match press conference, he told reporters who asked about his future: “When we return to the country I will tell you.”

Algeria were due to depart Bouake later on Wednesday.

Belmadi is the third coaching casualty in a matter of hours at the tournament in the Ivory Coast after Gambia’s Tom Saintfiet quit and then Ghana announced the sacking of Chris Hughton.

Belmadi was coach when Algeria won the 2019 Cup of Nations in Egypt but his side have finished bottom of their opening round group for two successive editions since.

They also failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, conceding a last gasp goal at home to Cameroon to go out on the away goals rule in a play-off.

Belmadi, famed for emotive gesturing on the touch line and a demonstrative demeanour, has clung onto his job despite the recent setbacks. Algeria were fancied to do well at the Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast with a formidable squad.

But they were held to draws by Angola and Burkina Faso in their opening Group D games before suffering a first ever loss to Mauritania, ranked 75 places below them.

“The only thing that was missing was a goal. Whenever they got a half chance they scored, whenever we got a chance we didn’t. That’s the mystery of football,” Belmadi told a press conference after the Mauritania match.

The 47-year-old, born in France but who played for Algeria and whose club career included stints at Manchester City and Paris St Germain, lost only seven of 67 matches in charge since being appointed in 2018. He won 43 of his games in charge.


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