By Maher Mezahi
A remarkably talented young nucleus of players are clearly progressing as a unit. Nabil Bentaleb and Saphir Taider, for instance, formed a dynamic partnership in central midfield. Faouzi Ghoulam and Aissa Mandi were unfaultable during all four matches and will surely establish a monopoly on the full-back positions. Factor in Algeria’s attacking midfield and the youthful quality of this side becomes conspicuously apparent.
Algeria’s main strength – the attacking midfield – failed to perform when all was on the line. Sofiane Feghouli, Riyad Mahrez, and Yacine Brahimi are supremely talented players, but they failed to impose themselves on divot-littered pitches and under stifling humidity.
Les Fennecs have a soft underbelly and it was exposed on several occasions during the AFCON. The North Africans have four slightly-above-average centre-halves, but each has an exploitable weakness. Rafik Halliche was unfit before the tournament and that was painfully evident against South Africa. Madjid Bougherra’s return to the side was positive, but he was at fault for Wilfried Bony’s first goal in the quarter finals. Carl Medjani was solid as per, but he was burnt by Asamoah Gyan in the group stages. The search for an elite, young centre-half in Algeria and abroad will now take place after Bougherra announced his retirement.