Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi saluted his side’s “incredible” Africa Cup of Nations triumph after they defeated Senegal 1-0 in Friday’s final to lift the trophy for the first time since 1990.
Baghdad Bounedjah’s deflected goal in the second minute in Cairo completed a stunning transformation for an Algeria team that exited in the group stage in 2017 and flopped badly in 2018 World Cup qualifying.
“I’m very happy. Our whole nation, our people were waiting for this second star for a long time,” said Belmadi.
“It’s our first Cup of Nations won away from home. It’s incredible especially when you look at where we came from.”
Former Algeria international Belmadi was appointed last August after eight years coaching in Qatar and has reinvigorated a talented but divided squad.
“I took over a team that was really struggling. To do what we’ve been able to do, and to put ourselves on the top of Africa in 10 months, is extraordinary,” he said.
“I’m a bit tired and it’s difficult to show these emotions but it will hit us later, once we’ve had a chance to rest a bit.”