Madjid Bougherra says the whole of Algeria should be proud of their national team after winning the Fifa Arab Cup in Qatar on Saturday night.
The African champions defeated Tunisia 2-0 in extra-time in the final at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, when goals from Amir Sayoud and Yacine Brahimi sealed the title. Sayoud struck in the 99th minute, with Brahimi making sure of the victory deep into injury-time.
Algeria, who next month begin the defence of their Africa Cup of Nations crown in Cameroon, remained unbeaten in Qatar despite facing a number of the tournament’s most prominent teams: Egypt, Morocco, hosts Qatar and Tunisia. The event marked its first under the Fifa banner.
“Thanks to God, this is the most important thing,” said Bougherra, the former Fujairah manager who usually coaches the Algeria A team. “Thank you a lot the players, [they] deserve big, big credit. They made very, very good games all through the competition.
“We deserve it, we played only the big teams. Very proud of the players, and all Algerian people and the fans need to be proud of them.
“They played all the games at a high level. They were concentrated today; as a derby it was a tough game. As a young coach, my first big trophy with my country.”
Bougherra, 39, dedicated the title also to Palestine and told Algerian supporters to enjoy the moment. The former centre-back said his players had proven their talent given their challenging run in the tournament.
“Pride for my players, pride for my country,” Bougherra said. “I said at the first press conference: to be the best you have to beat the best. And thanks to God they did it.
“We didn’t have time - we trained just two times before the camp. And game after game they were fantastic.”