A B LAHOUARI /AIPS – ALGIERS: Algeria’s best footballer of all time, Ahcène Lalmas, has died after a long illness. But who was this striker who wrote the best pages of Algerian football’s history and became the pride of the whole African continent?
Lalmas, surrounded by talented team-mates such as Djilali Selmi, Ahcene Achour, Ahmed Arab and Mohamed Nassou, helped Chabab de Belcourt reach the top level in North African and continental football. Designated as footballer of the century, Ahcene remains one of the references of this sport in Algeria.

He symbolises the history of football during the first decade of the Algerian independence.

Idolised at Chabab de Belcourt – the club that he led to three North African titles in a row (1970-1971-1972) – he is the only Algerian player to have scored 14 goals during an official match. He scored 28 with Les Verts and secured four Algerian championship titles (1965, 1966, 1969, 1970) as well as three Algerian cups (1966, 1969, 1970).

Lalmas was only 19 when he was selected for the first match played by independent Algeria against Bulgaria – a 2-1 win – by the coaching team of Abdelkader Firoud, Smaïl Khabatou and Abderrahmane Ibrir. He was then playing his club football for OM Ruisseau”, a club in the district of Algiers.

Lalmas was one of the most complete players of the African continent thanks to his game cleverness, his leadership skills, his decisive accelerations and his striking abilities. Yet he turned down offers from Barcelona, AC Milan, Nantes and Saint-Etienne.

His football career even became a political subject. In the streets of Algiers, one could read written on the walls: “Lalmas and Sonatrach (Algeria’s national treasures) are not for sale!”

He retired at 31 then turned to coaching with Chabab and, in 1970, won a fourth national title in this new role. He then moved to Nasr Hussein Dey who lined up many promising players sich Ali Fergani, Mohamed Kheddis, Meziane Ighil, Mahmoud Guendouz and Rabah Madjer who later became key players of the Algerian national team.


Ahcène Lalmas

Born in Algiers, 12th March 1943

International striker

Clubs: CR.Belouizdad, US Santé, NA Hussein Dey, l’OM Ruissea