By Emmanuel Okogba
Head coaches of the Algerian and Egyptian national teams have stepped down from their roles after they failed to lead their respective teams to Qatar.
Both teams went into the second-leg of the play-offs with an advantage, but couldn’t hold on as they lost to Cameroon and Senegal.
Algeria’s Djamel Belmadi wept uncontrollably when Gambian referee, Bakary Gassama blew the final whistle that condemned his team to a second successive World Cup miss.
Algeria had equalized in the 118th via Ahmed Touba to make it 1-1 on the night, but 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-0 victory in Cameroon last Friday. This was good enough to send them through, and it was all but settled until Karl Toko Ekambi scored deep in stoppage time to throw a spanner in the works.
Belmadi had failed to defend the AFCON title he won in 2019 and was hoping to make up with a World Cup qualification. It was also the first time Algeria were losing at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium since they started playing there in 2004.
Carlos Queiroz was beaten at the second time of asking by Senegal from penalty kicks following a 1-1 aggregate score line after 120 minutes. Egypt managed to convert just one of their kicks as even Mohammed Salah unusually skied his effort to sum up their posture.
Mane scored the decisive kick that sent Senegal to their second successive World Cup appearance and returned Queiroz to job hunting.
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Queiroz tweeted: ‘Dream is over. From the bottom of my heart, my gratitude to Egypt Federation for this honour of coaching the National Team.
‘To all my players and my staff, my recognition and humble thank you so much. You will be always in my heart.
‘It was my privilege to work and be helped by such dedicated and capable professionals and wonderful friends.’
‘Without you, nothing could be possible for me in my life. I am very much proud of you lads.
‘My best wishes and enormous gratitude to all Egyptian fans. To the future.’