Wednesday 20 March 2024, 21:00

Algeria gets FIFA Series green light

  • Algeria one of five FIFA Series 2024 host countries

  • The African nation will welcome Bolivia, South Africa and Andorra

  • Pilot phase of the FIFA Series a boost for the development of Algerian football

Algeria is buzzing with the news. One of five FIFA Series host nations, the country will welcome Bolivia, South Africa and Andorra for a unique series of friendly matches.

"It's something new for quite a few countries around the world," including Algeria," Verts midfielder Ismael Bennacer, who will miss the tournament due to minor aches and pains, told Inside FIFA. "It'll help us with the development of our game and it'll be a boost for a few other teams who don't have what others do."

"Major progress"

"It's a big step forwards for us because we get the chance to host countries from other continents and show Africa, Algerian football and the country's facilities in a good light," added Algeria forward Yacine Brahimi.

Two of the Fennec Foxes' leading lights, Brahimi and Bennacer know the joy international events like this can bring to the fans and how they can inspire future generations. Brahimi was a star of the side that gave Germany an almighty scare in the last 16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, when Bennacer was just a promising 15-year-old. "The Algerian people celebrated that defeat like it was a victory," said the AC Milan player, recalling that thrilling meeting with Die Mannschaft in Porto Alegre.

"The team did us proud with one of its best ever World Cup campaigns," added Bennacer, who was named player of the tournament when Algeria won the 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). We felt proud to be Algerian. We want to go out and surpass what our predecessors did and bring that pride and joy back to the people of Algeria."

Starting over

As for Brahimi, he is back in the national-team fold after a two-year absence and is hoping to make the most of his fresh start in the new setting offered by the FIFA Series, in which Algeria will take on Bolivia for the very first time. "It's good that we're playing teams from other continents and who play a different style of football," said the forward, who won the adidas Golden Ball at the FIFA Arab Cup 2021™. "It'll take us out of our comfort zone and away from what we're used to in Africa. It'll be a great experience for us and will help us to develop."

The meeting with the Bolivians will be an important first for Vladimir Petković, who was appointed Algeria's head coach on 29 February. His brief is to restore the fortunes of the Verts, who have made a perfect start to the qualifying competition for the FIFA World Cup 26™ but failed to reach Qatar 2022 and suffered a first-round exit at AFCON 2023.

International showcase

Aside from being a sporting event, the FIFA Series also represents an opportunity to develop and enhance the country's footballing infrastructure. It was with those goals in mind that Walid Sadi, the newly appointed head of the Algerian Football Association (FAF), paid a visit to FIFA President Gianni Infantino at FIFA headquarters in Zurich last October. On that occasion, Mr Sadi said his country was undergoing "a revolution in terms of its sports facilities and the construction of stadiums" and that Algeria was "ready to organise international competitions, both continental and global".

Opened in 2023 in the presence of the FIFA President, Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers will provide the venue for the FIFA Series matches against Bolivia and South Africa, when the whole country will again showcase the quality of its footballing culture and the warmth of its hospitality.