Algeria’s coach Christian Gourcuff says that he has a lot of regrets about the quarter-final exit at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
Algeria were knocked out of the tournament by eventual champions Ivory Coast. However, they came into the tournament as one of the favourites to lift the title after having performed well at the recent 2014 World Cup. Gourcuff took charge of the national team just after this competition. Even though the former Lorient manager can be blamed for the lack of experience when it comes to managing a national team in a tournament, Gourcuff feels that Algeria could have won the tournament had they got past Ivory Coast.
After having been a club manager for almost 3 decades, Gourcuff is experiencing international management for the first time. He said that most of the pitches used in the Africa Cup of Nations were built for athletic teams. He says that the pitch used in the quarter-final against Ivory Coast did not really suit Algeria and this was a major reason behind the exit. The players seem to have suffered as a result of this early defeat. They performed very poorly in the recent friendly against Qatar which ended in a 1-0 defeat. They have since recovered to get a 4-1 win over Oman.
“It was rewarding in many ways. In terms of the competition itself, it’s well known that the conditions were difficult, with the pitches favouring the more athletic teams. Although you go in expecting it, you’re always a bit surprised by the difference in conditions compared to Europe. The Africa Cup of Nations was a disappointment because I think we had what it took to win it. It came down to a quarter-final against the eventual champions, but we made too many defensive errors in that game to go through, even though I think we were superior to our opponents,” said Gourcuff.