After only two matches, Algerian coach Milovan Rajevac has stepped down from his post. More precisely, “the Algerian Football Federation have decided to amicably terminate the contract of Milovan Rajevac,” said a spokesperson for the FAF. The former Algerian coach has been lambasted for his recent poor performance. Some Algerian players are said to have blamed their coach for Sunday’s draw in Blida.
Rajevac replaced Christian Gourcuff in June and spent a meager three months coaching the national team. The match against Cameroon is said to have been the catalyst for the termination of Rajevac’s contract.
Algeria managed to kick off their Group B World Cup qualifying campaign with an early lead. Leicester City striker, Islam Slimani, managed to find unmarked Hilal Soudani in the box to header the ball in from close range. 1-0, said the scoreboard after just 7 minutes of play. The Algerian forces looked capable and were destined to score more until Cameroon fired back. Benjamin Moukandjo capitalised on a defensive malfunction and hammered the ball home from within the 16-yard box. Cameroon equalised 24 minutes into the game; the Algerian fans clamoured for change – they wanted their lead back. The rest of the match had some attempts on target but ultimately no goals and a point was given to either side.
The seasoned 62-year old coach discussed Algeria’s 1-1 draw against Cameroon with the Algerian Football Federation president Mohamed Raouraoua. Unfortunately, Rajevac left the meeting with no future in Algerian football. A change in leadership was needed sooner rather than later because only the winner of Group B will be able to attend the FIFA WORLD CUP 2018.
Milovan Rajevac has a distinguished record in football on the world stage. He managed to take Ghana to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup. Ghana lost 4-2 to Uruguay on penalties. Luis Suarez emerged as both hero and villain for intentionally handballing the strike that would have taken Ghana to the semi finals. Had it not been for Suarez’s handball, Ghana would never have needed to even consider a penalty shootout. Aside from the loss, Rajevac will remain content with Ghana becoming the third national team (Senegal and Cameroon the other two), on the African continent, to reach the quarterfinals in the history of the sport.
Rajevac sought to replicate his achievement with Algeria stating that he “had a great African experience with Ghana. It will propel me to achieve my objectives with Algeria.”
He received the best coach on the African continent award in 2010 from the Football association of Africa, for his accomplishments with Ghana in the World Cup, and, that same year, the best coach in his native country award in 2010 from the Football Association of Serbia.
Meanwhile, Nigeria comfortably sits on top of Group B with three points due to their 2-1 away win over Zambia. The Nigerian team can breathe a little easier knowing that the Algerian team desperately requires new leadership. Nabil Neghiz and Yazid Mansouri will take charge until a proper replacement is found for Rajevac.