Djamel Belmadi, Algeria's head coach did not mix his words in a press conference on Wednesday 1 September when asked about the state of the pitches in Algerian stadiums.
The African champions are used to hosting their opponents at the Stade Mustapha-Tchaker in Blida, on the outskirts of Algiers, but they will find it hard to play the attractive game for which they are known. ''I'm not a conspirator," he said. ''I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I'm just stating the facts.''
Djamel Belmadi decided to inspect the pitch of the Mustapha-Tchaker stadium in Blida before the start of the September training camp, but he only stayed a few minutes on site. The Algerian coach was furious at what he saw and decided to make his displeasure known publicly.
"In June, we had a good pitch after a long work. We had decided that we would play at Tchaker with the agreement of the players," he recalled. ''As if by magic, two months later we find a calamity. I was on the pitch for 15 seconds. It's sabotage.''
To understand the anger of the Algerian coach, we must go back to the genesis of the problem. The former Qatar coach has been complaining about the state of the pitch in Algeria since he took over as coach three years ago.
"I feel like I've been discussing the Tchaker issue since I arrived in 2018 and not much has changed," he recalled. ''When things change, they change for the duration of a match."
The pitch at Riyad Mahrez's favorite stadium is not the only one to cause problems in recent days. It is also the case of the grounds of the team's preparation center.
The fans of the national team discovered with surprise on the social networks of the Algerian Football Federation, the pitiful state of the pitches of the National Technical Centre (CTN) of Sidi Moussa.
This is not the first time that Djamel Belmadi decides to take the public opinion to witness. In October 2019, he said: "We have a real problem with the stadium. It's been a year that I travel to Tchaker, each time I am told the same thing. I was there yesterday and it's really DIY... I was ashamed during the A' game, the anthem not starting, the lighting going off."
The Algerians will host Djibouti on Thursday 2 September at the Mustapha-Tchaker stadium in Blida for the first day of the group phase of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. They will then fly to Morocco to face Burkina Faso in Marrakech.
It's a trip that Djamel Belmadi doesn't mind, as he prefers to play outside on a nice pitch than at home on a catastrophic one.
"Normally we will have a better pitch in Marrakech. The one hour trip is not to be neglected in terms of recovery. We will play in Morocco. Is that a problem? Normally it's not supposed to be. We're going there without excessive paranoia," he concluded.