From 1982 to 2014, it seems Algerian Football has around a full-circle. In 1982 a group of little known Algerian footballers did the unthinkable by toppling the might of the West Germans. Even though they ended up exiting the tournament in the most unfortunate circumstances, it announced the arrival of a country who had the potential for greatness from the African continent.

The year 1990 marked the high point in Algerian Football, as their 1st golden generation which consisted of talents such as Madjer, Belloumi & Menad among others helped them to their maiden African Cup of Nations title. Fast forward to 2017, the 1990 triumph remains their only piece of international silverware till date.

Since the turn of the last decade, football in Algeria has once again seen a resurgence. The 2014 World Cup brought back memories from 1982 as the Algerians were able to go past the group stages for the 1st time in their history. Like 1982, Germany ended their tournament but not before being pushed to the limit by a bunch of young defiant Algerians.

With Algerian football once again on the rise, we here are going to look back at Algeria’s illustrious football history & try to countdown the top 10 footballers in their history.

Countdown: Top 10 to 6

10th. Tahar Cherif El-Ouazzani (CDM)

Currently serving as the manager of Algerian Ligue 1 club USM Bel-Abbes, Cherif El-Ouazzani is widely regarded as one of the best footballers the country has ever produced. He started his career progressing through the youth ranks of his hometown club, MC Oran & made his professional debut with them in 1983 at the age of 17. During his 19-year-long professional career, Ouazzani would spend a total of 15 with MCO itself albeit in three separate stints. In his first stint (1983-90) with the club, Ouazzani would help the club to the Algerian Ligue 1 title once in 1987/88 and two Algerian Cups (1983/84 & 1984/85). He was also part of the MCO unit that finished as runners-up in the 1989 African Cup of Champions.

Upon leaving the club for the 1st time in 1990, Ouazzani went on to join Turkish club, Aydinspor 1923 where he would spend the next two years of his career before returning to MCO. His second-coming at MCO lasted only for a single season but was able to guide them to their 4th Algerian Ligue 1 title (1992/93). The next couple of years saw Ouazzani plying his trade for Moroccan giants, Raja Casablanca.

He was unable to help the Green Devils to any trophies during his two years & subsequently returned to MC Oran for the third & final time in 1995. Quazzani would go on to spend the final 7 years of his career with MCO itself, during this time he was able to win the Algerian Cup & the Algerian League Cup once in 1996 & the Arab Cup Winners Cup twice in 1997 & 1998. After retiring from the game in 2002, El-Ouazzani would return to his boyhood club as manager in four separate stints between 2008 to 2011.


In an international career which spanned over 12 years, Ouazzani represented the Algerians a total of 60 times. He was of Algeria’s 1990 Africa Cup of Nations winning squad. Ouazzani scored once during the tournament & his efforts helped him earn a spot on the eventual team of the tournament. He also won the 1991 Afro-Asian Cup of Nations with Algeria & was named as the runners-up in the 1990 African Footballer of the year Award behind Roger Milla. In total, Ouazzani represented Algeria in a total of three AFCON Championships between 1990 & 1996.

9th. Ali Fergani (CAM)

Fergani made his professional debut in 1969 at the age of 17 with Algerian club, NA Hussein Dey. Over the next 10 years, Fergani became one of the most influential players at the club & ultimately helped Nasria to they’re first ever major trophy in 1979, the Algerian Cup beating JS Kabylie 2-1 in the final. Fergani was also part of the Nasria side that lost to Guinean club Horoya AC in the finals of the 1978 African Cup Winners Cup.

In 1979, Fergani made the switch to fellow Algerian club, JS Kabylie with whom he would spend the next 8 years of his career before calling it a day in 1987. During his time with the Canaries, Fergani would win the Algerian Ligue 1 title 5 times (1980, 1982, 1983, 1985 & 1986), Algerian Cup once in 1986 & the CAF Champions League once in 1981.

International Career

Fergani featured in a total of 66 internationals for Algeria in his 13-year long career. He was part of the Algerian side that featured in their first ever World Cup in 1982. They could not make it past the group stage as they exited the tournament due to an inferior GD, despite beating West Germany 2-1 in their opener. Fergani also represented Algeria in a total of 4 AFCON Championships between 1980 & 1986. He was named to the eventual team of the tournament in 1980 edition which saw Algeria finishing as runners-up after losing to Nigeria 3-0 in the finals. He scored his first & only goal for Algeria in the Africa Cup of Nations at the 1984 edition, scoring one of the three which helped them beat Malawi in a group stage game.

Coaching Career

Since retiring as a player, Fergani has been able to forge a decent career as a manager which has seen him return to JS Kabylie, helping them win the 1990 CAF Champions League & 1989/90 Ligue 1 title. Over the last two decades, Fergani has gone on to manage several clubs including MC Oran, Esperance de Tunis & CA Bizerte to name a few. He has also gone on to manage the Algerian Nation team on two occasions & is the current manager of the Algerian “A” national team.

8th. Mehdi Cerbah (GK)

Cerbah was a product of the USM Alger youth academy & made his professional debut with them in 1972. Shortly after making his senior team debut, Cerbah made the switch to fellow Algerian, JS Kabylie. Cerbah would go on to spend the next 8 seasons with Kabylie helping them win the Algerian Ligue 1 title 4 times (1973, 74, 77 & 80) & the Algerian Cup once in 1977. Upon leaving the Canaries in 1980, Cerbah would join another Algerian Club, RC Kouba. In his first season itself, he would help the club win the Algerian Ligue 1 title (1980/81).

Despite the reasonable amount of success with Kouba, Cerbah made the move from the club in 1982 to join North American Soccer League club[1], Montreal Manic head of the 1982/83 season. He helped the club finish as runners-up in the 1983 NASL Indoor Championships & was named the defensive MVP for his efforts. The club was dissolved soon after & Cerbah returned to Kouba where he would spend the next three years of his careers before calling it a day in 1986.

International Career

In an international career which spanned over 10 years, Cerbah featured in a total of 50 internationals for Algeria between 1975 & 1985. He was part of the Algerian side that featured in their first ever World Cup in 1982 & Cebah started in all three of their games in the tournament. He was also part of the Algerian side that finished 2nd in the 1980 African Cup of Nations. In addition to these, he was also part of Algeria’s 1982 & 1984 African Cup of Nations squads.

Countdown: Top 10 Algerian Footballers: 7 to 4

External Resources

[1], A look into the history of NASL