PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Faouzi Ghoulam – Algerian to miss crunch match against Juventus

Napoli left-back Faouzi Ghoulam

Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 19:00

The knee injury suffered by Algerian star Faouzi Ghoulam means he will continue to miss Napoli’s big matches, including this weekend’s showdown with Juventus.

The match at Stadio San Paolo kicks off at 21h45 CAT and sees ‘Partenopei’ host the ‘Old Lady’ in one of Italian football’s classic rivalries.

The match also has significance in terms of the Serie A title race. Napoli currently top the log on 38 points, while defending champions Juve are four points behind in third place.

Ghoulam, sadly, will have to watch the game from the stands due to his long-term absence, but his future with the club remains headline news.

Though reports of a contract extension with Napoli have been prominent in the last couple of weeks, the Algerian remains a transfer target for the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Faouzi Ghoulam – Algerian set to secure future with Napoli – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Napoli left-back Faouzi Ghoulam

Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 22, 2017. 19:00

Algerian left-back Faouzi Ghoulam may be sidelined for the long term with a knee injury, but his future with Italian club Napoli remains headline news.

The Fennec Foxes star has been one of the most talked-about Africans stars in the transfer market, with his current contract set to expire at the end of the 2017/18 season.

Ghoulam was linked with the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and even Barcelona, with a move in the January transfer window looking very likely – until he suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month.

In the wake of these events, it has emerged that Napoli are very close to agreeing a new contract with the Algerian.

Tuttomercatoweb has reported that a new deal for Ghoulam to remain at the Stadio San Paolo until June 2022 will soon be inked, with confirmation of the agreement set to arrive before the end of next week.

Meanwhile, Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri has described the Algerian as one of the best left-backs in European football and has admitted that his absence has been a major blow to the team.

“The absence of Ghoulam? I think it is difficult at the moment to replace it. I would say that there are currently only one or two players in Europe capable of replacing him,” said Sarri this past weekend.

“Before he got hurt, Ghoulam was one of the top three left-backs in Europe.”

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Faouzi Ghoulam – No confirmation of Algerian star’s future – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 15, 2017. 19:00

Faouzi Ghoulam continues his recovery from a major knee injury and there remains no confirmation of whether he will sign a new contract with Napoli.

The Algerian is set to be out of contract at Stadio San Paolo at the end of the current season.

Some reports in Italian media claim the 26-year-old will pen a new deal with the Naples club, while others claim he will see out his contract and choose from one of several suitors in the European summer.

Juventus, Chelsea and Liverpool were also strongly linked with a move for the left-back, but it remains to be seen whether their interest is quite as strong considering his current injured status.

Regardless, Ghoulam will have been disappointed at having missed out on Algeria’s matches against Nigeria and Central African Republic during the international break this month.

He was named in the initial squad by new coach Rabah Madjer, but obviously had to pull out following the cruciate knee injusy he sustained while playing for Napoli in the UEFA Champions League.

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Algerian coach Rabah Madjer says Nigeria was scared of them – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Algerian head coach Rabah Madjer

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Nov 13, 2017. 18:30

Algerian national team coach Rabah Madjer says the Super Eagles of Nigeria were scared of them after playing to a 1-1 draw on Friday.

Madjer was speaking after their last match of their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier campaign in Group B, saying Gernot Rohr’s men were scared of losing the match.

However, goals from John Ogu and Yacine Brahimi’s penalty saw the Desert Warriors securing a point at home.

“In the second half, after the goal from Nigeria, I had to make some changes. I pulled out (Riyad) Mahrez who was tired and replaced (Zinedine) Ferhat in his place,” Madjer said to El Bahdja Radio.

“I brought back (Baghdad) Bounedjah who brought a lot in front. We created a lot of opportunities and if we had been effective, we would have won.

“Moreover, Nigeria was scared of us during the second half. They saw that we could win.”

The North Africans will face Central African Republic in their next international fixture on Tuesday, while Nigeria are in Russia for a friendly against Argentina’s Albiceleste.

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New Algerian coach Rabah Madjer happy with performance against Nigeria – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Algerian head coach, Rabah Madjer during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying soccer match between Algeria and Nigeria at Chahid-Hamlaoui stadium in Constantine, Algeria, 10 November 2017.

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Sunday Nov 12, 2017. 14:00

After leading the Desert Warriors to a 1-1 draw in his first assignment as coach, Algeria’s Rabah Madjer says there are positives from the team.

Madjer revealed that he was satisfied with his side’s performance against the Super Eagles of Nigeria on Friday night.

He also admitted that the North Africans would have won if not for the opportunities they missed, but also said Gernot Rohr’s men kept fighting hard.

”Frankly, we could not ask more to this team. We faced a very tough team from Nigeria, who did not let it go despite their World Cup qualification earned even before this match,” Madjer said.

“We tried to develop our game despite the difficulties.

”That said, I think that what I saw tonight, the future of this selection looks bright. There are many positive things to remember, though, I repeat, not everything has been perfect.

”I think this draw is satisfying even if we could have won if we had converted the opportunities we got, especially in the second half.”

The draw leaves Algeria at the bottom of Group B.

Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal, Morocco and Tunisia will represent the African continent at the World Cup in Russia next year.

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Riyad Mahrez – Algerian coach Rabah Madjer banking on Leicester player to beat Nigeria – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Riyad Mahrez of Algeria battles Nigeria ‘s Etebo

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 09, 2017. 19:00

Although Algeria are out of the race to book a spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the Desert Warriors will still have to protect their dignity when they meet Nigeria.

The thrilling encounter is set to be staged in Constantine on Friday as the North Africans will hope to boost their morale after a poor campaign.

Having a new coach in Rabah Madjer, the Algerians are aware that a win will ease their dismal qualifying campaign.

Madjer will lead the side for the first time after the axing of Lucas Alcaraz last month, and he wants a win to start his tenure on a high.

However, he will not make it happen alone and that is why players such as Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani must be in an uncompromising mood to down the Super Eagles.

“Our team is in crisis, it has been a difficult period for the players and that is why we have to get back to winning matches immediately (defeating Nigeria),” stressed Madjer.

Madjer will bank on the Leicester City winger as he has been impressive in the English Premier League in recent times.

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Faouzi Ghoulam – Crocked Algerian to receive contract extension? – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 08, 2017. 19:00

Algerian defender Faouzi Ghoulam is reportedly close to receiving a contract extension with Napoli, having suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.

The 26-year-old picked up a serious ACL injury while playing for Napoli against Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League last Wednesday.

Prior to the injury, Ghoulam was very much a hot property in the transfer market, with the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Juventus said to be keen on signing the Algerian – either in the January transfer window, or at the end of the current season.

This is because Ghoulam is set to be a free agent in June 2018, when his contract at Stadio San Paolo expires.

However, Calciomercato reports that Napoli and Ghoulam are now close to agreeing a new deal for the Fennec Foxes player, which would secure his future at the club and end transfer speculation.

In the meantime, Ghoulam will be focused on recovery, having undergone surgery on his knee, and will be keeping an eye out for Algeria’s results in matches against Nigeria and the Central African Republic in the international break.

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Algerian legends back Rabah Madjer as national team coach ahead of Nigeria clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Islam SLIMANI of Algeria Challenged by Leon BALOGUN (L) and William EKONG(R) of Nigeria during the Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifier match between Nigeria vs Algeria on November, 12th 2016 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium ©Kabiru Abubakar//Backpagepix©Kabiru Abubakar//Backpagepix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 02, 2017. 09:00

Ahead of Algeria’s clash against Nigeria in their final Group B, 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers next week, former Desert Warriors players have backed new coach Rabah Madjer.

This comes after Madjer was named national coach for the fourth time in his career on October 18 after Lucas Alcaraz was dismissed following a disappointing World Cup qualification campaign.

Ex-internationals such as Billel Dziri, who played under Madjer in the 1990s, believe the 1987 African Footballer of the Year can win over his critics.


“The players will see his training methods and the quality of his training sessions,” he told BBC Sport.

“People say that it has been a long time since he has not coached, but he has lots of experience on the football pitch. We cannot neglect that fact.”

On the other hand, Omar Belbey, who played under Madjer at the 2002 CAF African Nations Cup, adds it could be unwise to ignore the latter’s extensive experience.

“When you have an ex-international with the career he had and all that he represents, that is a monstrous asset,” adds Belbey.

“We, the players, listened to what he had to say because he knows what he’s talking about.”

Madjer has since announced his squad for the Super Eagles clash set to be staged in Constantine on November 10, which will be followed by a friendly against the Central African Republic in Algiers on November 14.

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Faouzi Ghoulam – Algerian to renew with Napoli? – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 01, 2017. 19:00

Faouzi Ghoulam will be in the Napoli shop window for perhaps the last time this evening when the Italian side hosts Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League.

Napoli and City will meet for their Matchday 4, Group F clash at Stadio San Paolo, kick-off at 21h45 CAT.

Ghoulam has been strongly linked with a move to the Premier League, with City, Liverpool and Chelsea all reported to be keen on signing the Algerian.

However, Sportmediaset claims that the left-back will sign a new contract with Napoli up to the end of the 2019/20 season, with a buy-out clause of €35-million.

Regardless, Ghoulam is set to be a key figure for Napoli tonight as they look to avenge a 2-1 loss at the Etihad two weeks ago.

The 26-year-old has also been named in Algeria’s 23-man squad named by new coach Rabah Madjer.

The Fennec Foxes are set to face Nigeria and Central African Republic in the upcoming international window.

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Faouzi Ghoulam – Algerian star to feature against Genoa tonight – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 25, 2017. 19:00

Algeria’s Faouzi Ghoulam continues to impress in the light blue of Napoli and is set to be in action later this evening in a Serie A match at Genoa.

Napoli will head to the Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris in Genova for their round 10 Serie A match.

Ghoulam has started all nine of their Serie A matches so far this season and has chipped in with two two goals.

The Naples club will be looking to return to the top of the standings, having been leapfrogged by Internazionale after they beat Sampdoria 3-2 in the only match on Tuesday.

With a record of eight wins and one draw from their opening nine matches, Napoli hasve established themselves as strong contenders for the Italian championship – a trophy they have not lifted since 1989/90 when they had Diego Maradona on their books.

Ghoulam, meanwhile, continues to be strongly linked with a move to the Premier League.

Manchester City appear to be the club in pole position to make a move for the Fennec Foxes star, having seen him in action first-hand at the Etihad Stadium last midweek when they claimed a 2-1 win over the Italian club in the UEFA Champions League.

Ghoulam has still not signed a new contract with Napoli, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the current season.

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Algerian FA part ways with coach Lucas Alcaraz – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Oct 13, 2017. 13:30

Algeria have parted ways with coach Lucas Alcaraz just after failing to lead the Desert Foxes to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Although the Federation of Algerian Football was pondering the decision to fire the Spanish manager, media reports indicate that he has been released.

Alcaraz is axed just before their clash against the Super Eagles of Nigeria in their final Group B game of the qualifiers next month.

FAF TO PUSH FOR ALCARAZ DISMISSAL BEFORE NIGERIA MATCH reports that the coach, who has a win record of one in four games since taking over from George Leekens, has already returned back to Spain.

Algeria are out of the race to qualify for the World Cup after picking up just one point in five games in a group where they were viewed as favourites to book a spot in Russia.

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This Algerian team has no soul – Hugo Broos – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Algeria’s Ghezzal Rachid fights for the ball against Zambia defender Ziyo Tembo during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Zambia vs Algeria on September,2nd 2017 at National Heroes stadium,Lusaka in Zambia
©Sid Kalungar/Backpagepix

Graeme Jackson

Monday Oct 09, 2017. 11:00

After seeing his side claim a win over Algeria on Saturday, Cameroon coach Hugo Broos has accused the North African team of having “no soul”.

The Indomitable Lions triumphed 2-0 in the teams’ 2018 World Cup qualifier in Yaounde, with Clinton N’Jie and Franck Pangop scoring the goals.

The match may have been a dead rubber, but it was still a body blow to Algeria, who have now lost four successive matches in Group B and will finish bottom of the standings regardless of their result in the final match at home to Nigeria next month.

The result piles further pressure on beleaguered coach Lucas Alcaraz, though Broos argues that the fault lies with the players and not the team management.

“I saw an Algerian team that has many qualities but who has no soul. There is no soul in this Algerian team,” explained Broos, as quoted by Le Buteur.

“When you compare that with Cameroon, I think the difference was blatant. We fought on every ball, even in the difficult moments of the game. We wanted to win.

“I do not have that feeling for Algeria when I see it playing, even if the Algerian team may have more qualities than us.

“You know, it is not only the quality of the player that can win you a match, it is also the mentality and solidarity of the group.”

The Belgian, who guided Cameroon to the Africa Cup of Nations title early this year, added, “Of course, the problem is the players.

“We have to be frank and let this coach work until after the 2019 CAN. We are not going to say that the Algerian coach is a bad coach.

“He must be given a year and a half before being judged at the next CAN. It is the fourth coach who leads Algeria in just one year. So we have to think and acknowledge that the problem is not in the coach, but rather in the players.”

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Disgruntled Algerian coach slams Zambian World Cup chances – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Sep 06, 2017. 18:00

Despite praising the Zambian squad after suffering two-back to back losses against the Chipolopolo in 2018 World Cup qualifiers, Algerian coach Lucas Alcraraz says they must rather focus on qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The Spaniard reckons Zambia have no chance of securing a slot at the upcoming tournament because of the form Nigeria are in.

After the 1-1 draw against the Indomitable Lions on Monday, the Super Eagles top Group B with 10 points, three better than Chipolopolo while Cameroon have three points, two clear of Algeria who are bottom.

“Zambia has a balanced squad with a blend of youngsters but I don’t think they can make it for the World Cup in Russia,” said Alcaraz.

“I know it was an interesting result in Cameroon, which gives hope to other teams, but still the momentum is with Nigeria.

“Zambian coach Wedson Nyirenda has a good team, but I think he should concentrate on building a strong team with the focus on qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

“I believe the Qatar target is attainable if they can maintain the same performance.”

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Algerian coach Lucas Alcaraz talks down Zambia – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Aug 30, 2017. 11:00

Algeria national team coach, Lucas Alcaraz says he wants to get two wins over Zambia in their back-to-back 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

The Desert Warriors are on the road to Lusaka for the first leg this weekend, and the Spanish manager says his troops know what to do.

Speaking to, the coach said Algeria might not be favourites in the group, but can revive their fortunes if they collect full points against Wedson Nyirenda’s Chipolopolo.

“We are going to prepare in depth for the two matches against Zambia. The FIFA calendar dictates that our future hinges on those two games played in a space of just five days,” said Alcaraz.


“The players and the staff know what they have to do, what is expected of them and the importance of these two matches.

“I need a lot of players for those two games and I am absolutely convinced that if we beat Zambia, then we will qualify for the World Cup.

“Obviously, we are not the favourites. But we have to do everything in our power to get as many points and wins as we can.

“We have to fight hard in every game to make sure there are no regrets at the end of it all.”

The encounter will be staged at the National Heroes Stadium on Saturday at 15:00 (CAT). will bring you a LIVE Play-By-Play of the match.

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Algerian star Mahrez wanted by Roma – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez

Graeme Jackson

Thursday Jul 13, 2017. 15:00

Leicester City’s Algerian star Riyad Mahrez is a transfer target for Serie A giants Roma, according to Sky in Italy.

Mahrez has been on Leicester’s books since signing from Le Havre in 2014 and helped them claim an unlikely Premier League triumph in 2015/16, earning the PFA Player of the Year prize in the process.

The Fennec Foxes player also helped Leicester reach the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League last season.

However, in May he handed in a transfer request in an effort to force through a move away from the King Power Stadium, with the likes of Barcelona and Arsenal reportedly interested in signing the player.

Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare told Sky Sports last week that the club had yet to receive any offers for Mahrez, but this new interest from Roma may open up a new chapter in the saga.

The Italian club could view the Algerian as a replacement for Mohamed Salah, whom they sold to Liverpool last month.

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