European and global powerhouse France will be one star lighter as 23-year-old Stade Rennais forward Amine Gouiri took to social media to officially announce switching international allegiances to Algeria.
The 23-year-old French-born forward has long been viewed as one of the brightest talents to emerge in Ligue 1 in recent years while he shone at all youth international levels for Les Bleus along the way, but will now represent the nation of his parent’s birth.
Gouiri released a video on his personal X account earlier today to confirm his switch to Algeria in the wake of Fennec Foxes boss Djamel Belmadi announcing in the mixed zone two days before a 2023 AFCON qualifying match against Tanzania on 7 September that the nationality change for Gouiri from French to Algerian was “resolved administratively.”
This now puts Gouiri in line to feature in a possible front-three partnership alongside Riyad Mahrez and Saïd Benrahma during the latest installment of AFCON set to take place between 13 January – 11 February 2024 in Côte d’Ivoire.
Gouiri, who bagged 48 goals in 72 combined appearances for France at U16, U17, U18, U19, U20, and U21 levels, was recently one of a cadre of current and former OGC Nice players and staff that spoke out against former manager Christophe Galtier and levied accusations of racial and religious discrimination perpetrated by the French manager.
On 30 June 2023, Galtier and his son John Valovic-Galtier, were taken into custody by French officials and are set to stand trial in December.
There is no suggestion that Gouiri’s decision to switch allegiances is due to this, however, and potentially down to the fact that France has one of the deepest - if not the deepest - talent pool anywhere in the world and no guarantee that he would have gotten his chance under Didier Deschamps at full international level.
Gouiri’s first taste of action for Algeria is likely to come during the October international break when Belmadi’s troops embark on a pair of friendlies against Cape Verde and Egypt before 2026 World Cup qualifying fixtures in November begin in earnest against Somalia and Mozambique.