AFCON 2019: Algeria coach drops star player from AFCON squad for disciplinary reasons

Ahead of the Total African Cup of Nations, Algeria manager Djamel Belmadi dropped Haris Belkebla from the Desert Warriors squad going to Egypt due to his recent behaviour. Belkebla incredibly flashed his bum on a Fortnite live stream to thousands of viewers. Algeria’s substitute goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja was playing the popular game and was broadcasting his match on streaming platform Twitch. Belkebla pulled down his trousers in the background and showed off his backside. 

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Belkebla has never represented Algeria before and it was the first time he had been called up to the senior national team. He had even performed in an initiation ceremony after joining up with the squad.

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In a statement made available today, Belmadi said he took the decision in order to maintain discipline in the squad.  “The national team coach Djamel Belmadi has decided to exclude Algeria midfielder Haris Belkebla from the Africa Cup of Nations training camp.

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“The coach’s decision was to maintain discipline within the group, which he considers paramount,” the Algerian Football Federation posted in a statement on Wednesday. His omission follows video footage of Belkebla appearing on social media exposing his backside on a live stream of an online game.

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The Brest midfielder issued an emotional apology, saying he was “broken-hearted”. “I would like to apologise to you. Of course I did not think I was live on a social network, however, what I did was out of order and has no place in a gathering of such importance,” he wrote on social media.

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“I do not seek to make excuses for myself because I made a mistake and I am paying the price immediately with my exclusion from the national team. “I am broken-hearted but it is a legitimate punishment by Algerian football governing bodies.

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Of course, I do not hold a grudge against anyone except myself for disappointing and hurting you. “I simply ask you to not hold this against my family, who have raised me with far more noble values ​​than what I displayed.

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“My values are a lot much closer to the values ​​of our country. To all the fans, the federation, the staff, the players, my family and the coach Mr. Belmadi, I apologise and ask for your forgiveness. To my teammates, the dream stops here for me, but I hope to celebrate while watching you lift the Cup. Long live Algeria.” USM Alger midfielder Mohamed Benkhemassa is expected to replace him, but the federation is yet to confirm Belkabla’s replacement.

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