INTERNATIONAL

Ahcene Aït Abdelmalek resigns as South Sudan coach

Ahcene Aït Abdelmalek resigns as South Sudan coach

The Algerian coach said that questions over his team selection by the FA officials were the main reason for his exit.

German-born Algerian Ahcene Aït Abdelmalek has quit as head coach of South Sudan’s national football team, just seven months after his appointment. In his resignation, the tactician said his exit was the consequence of South Sudan’s Football Association (SSFA) interference with his team selection

"They interfere and say this player must play and this player should not play, and why is this player not playing?" he told BBC Sport.

He went on to say that he hopes the team continues improving in the following years. "I know that one day every country that I have gone to and where I have worked, whether I decide to stay or to go, things change positively, and I am sure that South Sudan will move forward," he added. "My decision to resign is a good decision; perhaps it will bring a positive change. Perhaps I have disturbed people here. Perhaps the others would say I am on the side of the truth and others would say they are on the side of truth."

Limited opportunites

Abdelmalek only coached South Sudan’s senior side in one competitive international match, a 3-0 thrashing by Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers earlier this month. He also oversaw the country’s Under-20 side that lost 8-1 on aggregate to Uganda in March in the opening round of qualifiers for the U-20 Afcon qualifier.

SSFA spokesperson Alul Daniel said Abdelmalek had differences with the governing body’s board despite several efforts to peacefully resolve the matter. "We realized that he is not the person South Sudan needs now. We need someone to understand our weather, understand our situation and understand our players," Alul told reporters on Thursday.

Ramsey Sebit to take the reins

The Algerian is set to be replaced by his deputy, Ramsey Sebit, on interim basis.

"We are not going to bring new coach now. We don't want to hurry like before. We want to make sure that the one we are going to select is qualified and is going to help the South Sudan national team," Alul added.

Abdelmalek becomes the fourth foreign coach to quit South Sudan’s national football team, after South Korea's Lee Sung-Jea, Serbian Zoran Dordevic and Uganda's Leo Adraa.

South Sudan are currently bottom of 2019 Afcon qualifying Group C, without a single point so far, having lost to Mali and Burundi. Their next matches are in mid-October against Gabon.

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