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Mohamed Lamine Abid’s Determination Proves Prolific as the Striker Turns Heads in Algeria.

A little over two years ago at Mouloudia Club d’Alger (MC), Mohamed Lamine Abid wasn’t anywhere near his current form. In that summer of 2015, he had only a return of three goals to show for a combined nineteen club appearances, ten of those from the starting lineup.

That season, the Alger-based outfit finished the campaign on an abysmal note without any major honors and rubbing salt to injury, the club bowed out in the First Round of the CAF Confederations Cup.

A young Lotti Amrouche was then the man on the managerial helm as the side underwent a transitional period. Of the thirty games sanctioned in the Algerian Premier League, Alger won only eight – the same number of games they’ve lost – and drew fourteen. The defense was in a shambles, letting in twenty-six goals as they survived the drop by a thin thread. The club’s strike force of which Abid was a central part of the setup, was put to blame.

Gaffer Amrouche had high hopes in Mohamed at the start of the 2015 League season who considered him an integral part of his plans. But as games wound down, the one-time dependable striker soon became peripheral and by end of the season, expendable.

Lotti survived the chairman’s ax but knew an overhaul of his squad was inevitable, especially if he’s to win over the board’s full trust. Abid was the first man to lead the coach’s massive clear-out at the resumption of the championship.

Following this, the then 23-year-old longed for a change of scenery with a move to the Tunisian League, then, being evaluated. But for the mandatory military obligations, Algerians at his age had to undergo, his transfer to neighboring Tunis had to be canceled.

Hometown club Nasr Athletique de Hussein Dey acquired his services on the inclination he will rediscover his form that made MC fork out £450,000 to sign him on loan.

However, after seventeen cameos, eleven of those as a regular and coming off the substitutes’ bench nine times with just two goals to his name, NA Hussein Dey thought they had had enough and allowed him to run down his contract without any improved terms.

Club Sportif Constantine, under President Tarek Arama operating with a very modest budget, decided to offer a chance to players considered surplus to requirement by the top four clubs in the league. Abid entered Constantine’s books on a free transfer.

Under coach Abdelkader Amrani’s tutelage, the attacker’s fortunes took a turn for the better. No longer portrayed the man out of his comfort zone by the press, Abid’s name changed from whispers of the village to the talk of the town as he banged in goals for fun.

The 16-team Algeria top flight is 15 games old this season with Abid on eleven goals already. He tops the scoring chart, one ahead of USM Alger’s Oussama Darfalou. Half of Constantine’s twenty-two (22) goals come off his legs with only four of them being headers.

Now likened to erstwhile Sporting Lisbon and Leicester City’s Islam Slimani, for his positional play, the 26-year-old has opened the scoring ten times this season and on each of those occasions, The Smurfs – CS Constantine’s moniker – have always secured the points with relative ease.

Currently, they headline the table log on thirty-nine (39) points which breaks down as nine wins, four draws, and two losses. The Smurfs’ back-four has been solid but Abid’s impact is overshadowing. His quick rise in the five months with the club hasn’t been without the inputs of Yacine Bezzaz, Boubeker Rebih, and Abdenour Belkheir.

The triumvirate of Bezzaz, an experienced attacking midfielder, Rebih a winger and Belkheir aged 36, 34, and 28 respectively, have been stupendous.

Standing at 1.92m tall, the towering center-forward has scored goals of high caliber from ‘kungfu’ overhead kicks to improbable thunderbolts out of the box.

He joined the fray as Yacine Bazzaz’s replacement in their last encounter as table-topping Constantine lost 2-0 to Paradou AC.

As the striker comes up unhinged to his past struggles, Al Ahly of Egypt, Tunisia’s Esperance de Tunis, and Raja Casablanca of Morocco –the cash-wielding football clubs in the North African region – are all on the trail of the striker.

However, they will have to cough up in excess of £360,000 to tempt CS’s resolve.




Featured Photo: DZfoot

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