105. Lakhdar Belloumi
One of Africa’s finest ever players, Lakhdar Belloumi was a star of the Algerian team which stunned West Germany in the 1982 World Cup in Spain
. Beginning his career in his late teens with SEMPAC and SKAF El Khemis, he moved to hometown club GC Mascara in 1978, and would spend much of his career with the club in three separate spells.
Lakhdar Belloumi’s first spell with GC Mascara was cut short by the beginning of his national service in 1979, and he spent the two years of that service playing for MC Alger before returning to Mascara in 1981. During his time with MCA, Belloumi established himself in the national team and helped Algeria to the African Nations’ Cup final and the quarter finals of the Olympic Games in 1980. His second spell in Mascara would prove to be the most successful time of his career, with GC taking the national title in 1984, in between two memorable appearances in the World Cup finals.
Algeria were making their debut in the finals in 1982, and few gave them much chance against one of the favourites, West Germany. Having seen a 1-0 lead cancelled out by the Germans, Algeria were already heading for a famous draw when Lakhdar Belloumi scored what proved to be the winning goal two minutes from time. Unfortunately for Algeria, they would fail to qualify for the second stage on goal difference after a game between the Germans and Austria in which the two sides were accused of engineering a result that would take both through.
Algeria returned to the World Cup in Mexico in 1986, but were unable to repeat the form of four years earlier and never looked like qualifying for the second round. Throughout the early 1980s, Lakhdar Belloumi had turned down chances to move to Europe to play and had remain with GC Mascara, and when he did move on in 1987 he still remained in Algeria, with MC Oran. His only experience of playing club football outside his home country came in a three-year spell in Qatar with Al-Sadd in the early 1990s.
Lakhdar Belloumi returned to Algeria in 1993 to play one more season with MC Oran, before returning to GC Mascara a year later for his third spell with his hometown club. He finally retired from playing in 1999, aged 40, and set out on a coaching career. Several jobs as an assistant coach followed, as well as a short spell in joint control of the Algerian national team.