ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria coach Christian Gourcuff resigned on Sunday, days after positive results in a pair of African Nations Cup qualifiers put the north African country on the cusp of going into next year’s finals in Gabon.
Algeria agreed an early cancellation of the Frenchman’s contract, which was due to run until the next World Cup finals, its soccer federation (www.faf.dz) said.
The brief statement said: “The Algerian Football Federation has amicably terminated the contract of national coach Christian Gourcuff at his request. He will be replaced in the interim by Nabil Neghiz, assistant national coach.”
Algeria beat Ethiopia 7-1 at home on March 25 and then came back three times to draw 3-3 in Addis Ababa against the same opponents last Tuesday to confirm their lead in qualifying Group J, where they need only one more point to make sure of their progress.
Gourcuff, who turns 61 on Tuesday, was appointed in August 2014, replacing Vahid Halilhodzic after he took Algeria to the second round of the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
A new coach will have two more African Nations Cup qualifiers to get through in June and September before the group phase of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers begins in October.
Gourcuff, who had won 13 of 21 matches in charge for Algeria, had told Algerian players last week he wanted to return to a job where he could work with players daily. He has been linked to Bordeaux, Lille and Nantes, French daily L’Equipe reported.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Clare Fallon)