Matchworn by Rafik Saïfi (2000 Africa Cup)
Manufacturer: Cirta Sport
Although, it has become increasingly more difficult to determine Germany’s worst football match, after their recent results in big tournaments, the worst game to watch was without a doubt their last group match against Austria during the 1982 World Cup.
Aptly titled “Disgrace of Gijón”, the game developed into a non-aggression pact which would grand both teams the progress to the next round. The victim of this unsportsmanlike agreement: Algeria.
Having participated in a World Cup for the first time, the Algerians quickly developed into a surprise team, after beating Chile and Germany in the group stages. Since the last group matches didn’t take place at the same time, both Germany and Austria were able to strategize regarding their approach to the match. After a fast 1-0 from the Germans, which meant that both teams would qualify for the second round, neither country dared to take any risks and thus the game evolved in a return-pass-festival.
Of course, the Algerians weren’t too amused about this. But despite vehement protest, the FIFA considered that no rules were broken and no collusion between the teams could be proven.
Since 1982, Algeria’s national team managed to qualify for the World Cup another three times. In 2014 they advanced to the round of 16, where they lost against: Germany…
Algeria remain one of the strongest teams on the African continent, winning the Africa Cup of Nations twice, the last time in 2019.
Between 1996 and 2001, Algeria received numerous shirts with countless variations from local manufacturer “Cirta Sport”.
The brand’s effort for the 2000 Africa Cup is probably the best-looking of those shirts:
Coming in a beautiful mint green, if features a nice oriental pattern as well as thick "الجزائر" (Algeria) writing on the front. The sleeves, however, are kept in a different shade of green which doesn’t really fit the rest of the shirt. There are two variations of this design, which were both used during the 2000 Africa Cup – even in the same match! One version has a red stripe on the collar, while mine has a green stripe.
The shirt has the name of Rafik Saïfi on the back, yet, I couldn’t find out if he played the game against South Africa, in which the away model was used, because there is no conclusive match sheet of the game that indicates, which players have been substituted. Saïfi, however, started in all the other games of the tournament.
During his almost 20-year-long career, Saïfi played almost 250 games in the French Ligue 1 and 65 games for his national team. After Algeria’s last game of the 2010 World Cup, Saïfi slapped a female reporter in the face for criticizing him in an article. Probably not his most glorious moment…
He ended his career at Ligue 2 team Amiens SC, where he gifted this shirt to teammate David Hamed, who then gave it to a friendly collector.