Former Rangers centre-back Madjid Bougherra has led Algeria to the FIFA Arab Cup, sparking wild celebrations in the north African nation.
The Algerian diaspora across the globe was celebrating the nation’s 2-0 victory over Tunisia after extra time, which crowned them the FIFA Arab Cup Champions.
Al-Tai FC attacking midfielder Amir Sayoud gave Algeria the lead nine minutes into extra time, before former FC Porto winger Yacine Brahimi secured the trophy with the final kick of the game.
The game took place at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor in front of a crowd of over 60k, with the tournament being held in Qatar ahead of next winter’s World Cup.
The victory adds the FIFA Arab Cup to Algeria’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations triumph as they prepare to defend the trophy in Cameroon next month.
After lifting the cup, there were raucous scenes in Algeria capital Algiers as Algerians from across the globe celebrated the victory.
Rangers hero Madjid Bougherra leads Algeria to FIFA Arab Cup
Amongst them was ex-Gers defender Madjid Bougherra – still a bit of a cult hero at Ibrox – who is involved in the international football scene with Algeria.
The ex-Ibrox defender, now 39, ordinarily manages Algeria A, a side which is made up of only Algeria-based footballers with Djamel Belmadi the man who leads the main team.
Credited as the man who guided this Algeria team to the FIFA Arab Cup, Madjid Bougherra paid tribute to the team and dedicated the triumph to the people of Palestine amid conflict with Israel.
“Thanks to God, this is the most important thing,” said Madjid Bougherra [National News].
“Thank you a lot the players, [they] deserve big, big credit. They made very, very good games all through the competition.
“We deserve it, we played only the big teams. Very proud of the players, and all Algerian people and the fans need to be proud of them.
“They played all the games at a high level. They were concentrated today; as a derby it was a tough game. As a young coach, my first big trophy with my country.
“Pride for my players, pride for my country. I said at the first press conference: to be the best you have to beat the best. And thanks to God they did it.
“We didn’t have time – we trained just two times before the camp. And game after game they were fantastic.
“We dedicate the Arab Cup to the Palestinian people and our people in Gaza.”
Madjid Bougherra remains a popular player at Rangers after the big centre-back spent three years at Ibrox between 2008 and 2011.
Playing 113 times, Bougherra won three SPL titles, one Scottish Cup and two League Cups at Ibrox and was famous for his marauding runs from the centre of defence.
Rangers fans also have a new defensive cult hero at centre-back very much in the mould of the iconic Algerian defender.