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The Story of Delort: The Man Who Could Fetch Algeria the AFCON Title

The rise of Andy Delort from beach soccer to a man who could fetch Algeria the AFCON title.

Algeria are one of the teams considered favourites to grab this edition’s Africa Cup of Nations title. It is a statement coach Djamel Belmadi would loath hearing considering he would want attention deflected off his charges. However, the qualities at his disposal make this favourite tagging inescapable, one case in point being Andy Delort.

A late call-up to replace Haris Belkebla after the FC Brest midfielder was sent packing from Algeria’s camp in Doha for showing his bum in a live video, Andy couldn’t have imagined he would be on the plane bound for the tournament in Cairo.

The talent of the 27-year-old was never in doubt even after Belmadi had overlooked him in his initial final squad. The North Africans are a nation boasting a plethora of stars.

Where Riyad Mahrez, Sliman Brahimi and Baghdad Bounedjah –the man who upstaged the calibre of Messi and Ronaldo in scoring in the first half of the league – are central in the Algerian team, Delort could only content with being a fringe in their midst.


But dealt good cards by fate, aided by Belkeba’s live stream bare bum howler, Andy was back in the fold in no time and brings with him a unique penchant for goal.

Algeria have never lacked goal-getters and with a team out to restore their integrity as one of the continent’s football notables and under a manager whose devotion to beauty has no room for compromise, the addition of the Montpellier marksman will but enrich a setup littered to the brim with top-notch quality.

He brings to the table fourteen goals in this season’s campaign, a decent return in a run of thirty-six games –his biggest tally in a single season in the French Ligue1.

The art of scoring takes some nerves, an effort implemented in a split second decision, all pressures, checked to one side.

Diminutively built, pace comes as a mandatory trait to compliment his voraciousness for goals. This season, he has scored them from various angles and is unselfish to deliver an assist when the goal is beyond his reach.

His trademark celebrations, skating on his knees overwhelmed by delight with a pumping fist, will soon become a common sight for watchers on screens and to fans in Cairo.

Born to an Algerian mother, playing for the Desert Foxes did not come as a last resort as has become the norm for most Africans born abroad turning to the continent after all doors are slammed shut.


Now 27, he played for France only at youth level for the European country’s beach soccer national team under Manchester United great Eric Cantona’s stewardship. His rise to the big time wasn’t a smooth transition.

Starting out his journey with hometown club FC Sete 34, he soon earned a deal with Ajaccio then Nimes in the summer of 2009 then Metz on loan and Tours before heading out to Wigan Athletics prior to returning to France this time with Caen, twelve months later.

His form improved significantly while plying his trade in the French second tier where he was nominated for the standout player award in the 2013-14 season and the same time in the Team of The Year.

Gaffer Belmadi was eager to see his newest potent in the final friendly against Mali yesterday, Sunday.

“Andy Delort is a player who is all prepared to join Algeria. He started everything alone, and that’s what really attracted my attention.”

“I spoke with him before the announcement of the CAN list and he showed his desire to wear the national jersey.”

“As I have always said, any Algerian capable of bringing back the most and after what happened to Belkebla, we had to make a quick decision and fate wanted Delort to become a wise choice to represent the colours of the country with dignity,” Djamel said.

Mali’s exhibition game was a moment to prove for Andy but the AFCON presents a bigger opportunity with the title being the set-out target.

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