One of the greatest disappointments in the history of African football: The “Mahrez generation”, the mess of the century


The terrible disillusionment is commensurate with the mad hope placed in this generation of gifted people. A golden generation from which the best was expected, but which ended up experiencing the worst. A generation capable of going for an African Cup of Nations with 24 teams in the furnace of Cairo and then being eliminated, at home, from the race for the World Cup by a Cameroonian selection that we did not necessarily expect. level. The immense waste that this elimination from the race for Qatar-2022 constitutes will forever haunt the nights of the gang at Djamel Belmadi, guilty of having done hara-kiri and of not having been able to hold his rank.

Author of an indigestible performance, going to Douala as well as returning to Blida, Captain Riyad Mahrez illustrates, moreover, this paradox to perfection. While the whole football planet had given him an appointment in Qatar, in November, he incomprehensibly hid when a whole people in love with his selection expected him to transcend it and carry it, crossing these barriers in the face of in Cameroon as the ghost of the brilliant Manchester City winger.

Unless he wanted to extend his career beyond the age of 35 and the Greens manage to qualify for the 2026 edition, which will be organized simultaneously by Canada, the United States and Mexico, Riyad Mahrez will never play a second World Cup. Already that he had lived that of 2014 in Brazil in the shadow of Djabou, after having completely missed his start of the tournament against Belgium, being satisfied with only 70 minutes after being selected by Vahid Halilhodzic at the end of May, now the EN captain sees himself deprived of the biggest planetary sporting event of 2022. An indelible stain that will sound like a flat in his very eloquent CV.

Besides Mahrez, the other symbols of this 2019 African champion generation, Raïs M’Bolhi, Aïssa Mandi, Adlène Guedioura, Sofiane Feghouli and Islam Slimani will also not have the chance and the happiness to play another World Cup. in their career. Reached by the age limit, the end of their course in Green probably sounded with this monstrous failure against Cameroon. For the Atal, Bensebaïni, Benlamri, Bennacer, Zerrouki, Belaïli, Bounedjah, Ghezzal and Benrahma, the dream of participating in a first World Cup has been shattered into a thousand pieces and it will inevitably be very difficult for them to get another chance, too. beautiful than the one ruined on Tuesday evening, to dispute what is best in terms of international competition.

At a time when Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana and Cameroon will represent Africa in Qatar without holding the same jewels as those that adorn Belmadi’s dream-team, football’s Algeria observes, with bitterness and desolation, that one of its finest selections in its long and rich history will follow this 2022 World Cup on the small screen. Gifted in football but eliminated by an under-gifted but so united Cameroonian selection, this “Mahrez generation” will carry, for at least four long years, this burden and the stigmata of this night of disastrous memory.



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