Algeria still work in progress heading to South Africa (News Feature)
By David Hein Jun 5, 2010, 23:26 GMT
Fuerth, Germany - Rabah Saadane breathed a sigh of relief after the final whistle of Algeria's 1-0 victory over United Arab Emirates in their final warm-up before heading off to the 2010 World Cup.
While he knows his Algerian team is still a work in progress, the Desert Foxes' wily head coach finally got a much-needed positive experience ahead of South Africa 2010 after losing four straight friendlies.
'The final result doesn't mean that much to me. I was interested in seeing how many players played in defense and in the attack,' Saabane told reporters after the game.
'Certainly we will have a different method and different plan in South Africa. And I am certain that we will be differently against Slovenia.'
Algeria return to the World Cup for the first time in 24 years and start their Group C campaign against Slovenia on June 13 in Polokwane.
The only Arab nation at the World Cup had a week of training in nearby Herzogenaurach, which was culminated with the game in front of some 13,000 Algerian fans in Fuerth.
And the coach was pleased with his team's showing in the hot sun in southern Germany.
'I am very satisfied with the condition of the players and that we got through this warm-up stage without any injuries. I hope that we will be ready for the Slovenia game,' Saabane said.
The coach however said his team still has plenty to work on.
'I was satisfied for the one week of training. There are still some things we need to work on, but we have about a week before we play our first match in the World Cup. And I think we can correct our problems,' said Saadane.
'We are having some problems defensively. We worked hard in the training in Switzerland and Germany.'
A major concern for the coach is his attack.
'We have one week before the World Cup and the one goal we scored today was on a penalty. We have three strikers but we are having troubles scoring goals during play,' said Saadane.
The veteran Alergian coach - making his third appearance at a World Cup as a head coach (1986) or assistant coach (1982) - also made sure to point out that this team's goals go beyond South Africa 2010.
'I was a bit surprised about the level of some of the players during the training camp, how they developed. We are after all also working ahead for the African Cup of Nations 2012 and what comes after that.'
With 20 of 23 players under the age of 29, Algeria may be a work in progress still heading into the 2010 World Cup. But they are much further along in their development for the future after South Africa.