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Date: 10/19/2017

President of the Algerian Handball Federation Habib Lebane announced that experienced coach Sead Hasanefendic has taken over as the new coach of the mens national team and to oversee the younger age categories.


Hasanefendic has many stamps in his passport having worked in Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, France, Bosnia and Germany and Lebane travelled to Germany to finalise a two-year contract.


The signing came after weeks of negotiation with the former Tunisia mens national coach who led them to fourth place at the 2005 IHF Mens World Championship and to the final of the 2014 CAHB Mens African Championship, won by Algeria on home soil.


We found a common ground with Sead, said Lebane about the 69-year-old, who will become the 10th foreign coach to take over the Algerian mens national team. We have specific objectives, namely the next African championships, the 2018 Mediterranean Games in Tarragona in Spain and of course the World Championships.


Recent performances, work to do


Hasanefendic, whose most recent roles have been with German clubs TuS N-Lübbecke and VfL Gummersbach, knows he has a lot of work to do with over 20 months passed since the senior side have been in competitive tournament action.


Qatar 2015 was the last time Algerias men appeared at a senior IHF World Championship, where, under the guidance of coach Rida Zeguelli, they lost all five of their preliminary group games (Egypt, Iceland, Sweden, France and Czech Republic) and both their placement matches (Saudi Arabia and Chile) to finish rock-bottom in 24th place, out of 24 teams.


In January 2016, Algeria won four of their five CAHB African Mens Championship preliminary round matches, losing only to Egypt before progressing through to the quarter-finals where they beat DR Congo.


However, a loss to Tunisia in the semi-final and then Angola in the 3/4 placement game, meant missing out on a place at the 2017 IHF Mens World Championship.


More recently, May 2017 saw a younger age Algeria team compete under Rabah Gherbi at the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, held in Baku, Azerbaijan. Gherbi, who won the 2003 EHF Champions League with Montpellier, saw his side finish fourth after victories over Pakistan and Azerbaijan in the preliminary round, before a loss to Turkey in the semi-finals and then Iraq in the 3/4 place match.


Continuing at the younger age level, the 2017 IHF Mens Junior World Championship was held in Algiers, and under Gherbi, Algeria came close to a quarter-final place, but lost to FYR Macedonia. Their preliminary round campaign had been played in front of upwards of 8,000 fans who had witnessed wins against Morocco and Saudi Arabia combined with impressive draws against Croatia and Argentina highlighting the potential of handball in the north African country both on and off the court.


But it was back down to earth as the 2017 IHF Mens Youth World Championship in Georgia started and ended badly for the Algerians with the team arriving a few hours before their first game due to visa issues and going on to win only one game in the preliminary round, against Chile 33:32 and then their 23/24 placement match against Mexico, 27:25.


Preparing, Gabon on the horizon

In preparation for his arrival in Algiers on 15 October, the Algerian Handball Federation have conducted physical tests and evaluations - comprising of 34 elements - of potential players at the Hotel Mehdi, Staouéli, including the addition of 12 players from the successful U21/junior team who performed so well on home soil back in July at the 2017 IHF Mens Junior World Championship.


The 2018 CAHB African Mens Championships will take place in Gabon in January and with Algeria already qualified, Hasanefendic has little time to waste in preparing his troops for a competition he knows well having made the final in 2014 with Tunisia which was followed up by qualification through to the eighth-finals of Qatar 2015.


In Doha, Tunisia drew with Austria and beat Iran and Bosnia in the preliminary round to set up an eighth-final against Spain, but Hasanefendics side lost to the strong side 28:20 and the Croatian coach stepped down.


Ahead of Gabon 2018, Hasanefendić will take his new squad for a preparation tournament in Tunis.


Squad for testing


Players promoted from U21/Junior team


GS Petroleum: GHEDBANE Khelifa, DJEDID Yacine

CRB Baraki: BENMESSAOUD Yacine, ABDI Ayoub, HADJ SADOK Mustapha

ES Arzew: MEKLOUT Rafik

JSE Skikda: NAIM Zohir

ES Ain Touta: DJEGHABA Bagha Eddine

MC Saida: KOURI Mokhtar

Annaba: Bentaieb Zakaria

CR El Harrouch: DJEMAA Osama

MB Tadjenannt: HELLAL Nour Eddine


Current senior players


GS Petroleum: SLAHDJI Abdelmalek, BENMENNI Abdellah, BERKOUS Messaoud, CHEHBOUR Riad, KHELIL Zakaria, ZAMOUM Anis, ARIB Reda


JSE Skikda: BOUDJENAH Osama, BOULAHSA Ali, YDRI Reda, SAKER Redouane

ES Ain Touta: HAMOUD Ayat Ellah Khomeini, BELAID Amine

CRB Baraki: DJELLABI Abderraouf, BOUHAL Aziz

CR Bordj Bou Areridj: HAMMOUCHE Abdenour, MARHOUN Fares, HALHAL Osama

C Chelghoum Laid: GRIBA Mohamed

MB Tadjenannt: HACHEMI Chahredine


CR Bordj Bou Areridj: BOUCHETIT Hamoudi