The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) says there is nothing to celebrate over the resignation of Algeria’s Belgian coach, Georges Leekens, who quit yesterday after the side crashed out of the on-going Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Algeria were one of the pre-tournament favourites for the competition, but they failed to win a game in their opening group. The North Africans are in the same group with the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the qualifiers for Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup. While Nigeria is leading the group with six points from two matches, Algeria has just one point from the same number of games.
NFF Technical Committee chairman, Chris Green, said the fact that Algeria could not make it beyond the group stage at Gabon 2017 AFCON does not make the team a weak side.
“We won’t celebrate it because no two matches are the same. In football, the current form of a team, attitude of the players and the environment you find yourself matters so much. Nigeria is not in Gabon for the on-going AFCON, but that does not mean that the Super Eagles is a weak team. We will play all our remaining qualifying matches as if we were in the World Cup final,” Green stated.
The Super Eagles will play the Lions of Cameroun home and away in August this year, host Zambia before going to Algeria for their last Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier.
Algeria’s Belgian coach, Georges Leekens said in a statement on the Algerian Football Federation website yesterday: “For the good of all I decided to quit even though I do it with heart ache, and I wish all the success in the world to the national side.”
After the game in Franceville, Leekens indicated he hoped to continue as coach, with the next target being qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“But given the pressure on the federation and the national team, I preferred to end my contract out of friendship for the president of the FAF (Algerian Football Federation) who deserves respect,” he said in the statement.