Algeria are into their first World Cup finals in 24 years and the Africa Cup of Nations quarter finals - yet the architect behind those twin achievements feels undervalued, unappreciated and underfire.
Coach Rabah Saadane has nothing to prove, yet his critics, sections of the Algerian media, have rounded on him here in Angola leaving him embattled and bitter.
Born months after the end of World War II, the father of four who graduated from university with a degree in science is on his fifth 'marriage' with the national team.
He was assistant coach at the 1982 World Cup, and head coach at the 1986 World Cup when Algeria failed to make it out of the first round after a draw with Northern Ireland and losses to Brazil and Spain.
Saadane, who cuts a doleful figure with his droopy eyes and walrus moustache, served his country again for an unhappy four month spell in 1999 and returned for a fourth time in 2003, leading the Desert Foxes to a quarter-final at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia.
Hired again in 2007 this latest tenure has proved his most successful, with qualification to South Africa 2010 and now a last eight date with Ivory Coast on Sunday.
He has achieved mission impossible as none of his critics believed either of those two feats were possible, especially Algeria's progress through the Africa Cup of Nations' first round after their opening 3-0 loss to Malawi.
That led to calls for his sacking.
"After that defeat I discovered who were my friends and who were my enemies," Saadane, who has clearly been hurt by the press onslaught, told AFP.
"I was attacked before we came to Angola for choosing Toulon as our training base, and attacked again when we lost to Malawi.
"The criticism became personal, this was disrespectful after the sacrifice made to help put Algeria back on the continental and international stage.
"I don't need to prove anything to anyone. My record speaks for itself."
"I feel unappreciated," added the man who is called 'Cheikh' by his players.
"No one dreamed we could qualify for the World Cup. All those who criticize me know nothing - we lost one game and nobody will forgive us.
"My critics forget who is Rabah Saadane - if they want to know who he is they must look back to the past, or to just a few months.
"I have nothing to prove.
"Training the national team is an honor for me - but it is also a huge responsibility. Eevery time I am asked to become coach I answer the challenge and I make a successful job of it."
When he was summoned to become coach for the fifth time in 2007 his wife begged him not to accept, as when times get rough fans can get rough too.
"I took on the job again even though I know the risk it presents on my family, on my life - I do not give up easily."
After their rocky start Algeria went on to beat Mali 1-0 and draw 0-0 with Angola to reach the quarter-finals as Group A runners-up, leaving Saadane satisfied that his team are on the right path.
"We have reached our objective of making the quarter-finals.
"We have a good team, who are making progress with each match. We will continue to work hard, to concentrate, to try to go far in this tournament."
The North Africans are drawn in the same World Cup first round group as England, the United States and Slovenia, and Saadane, a former defender with French side Rennes, believes this Angola dress rehearsal will prove an invaluable experience for South Africa.
"We have shown here in Angola that we are on the right path for the World Cup.
"But what we have done here shouldn't be regarded as a message to England, USA and Slovenia. The conditions at the World Cup will be very different to here in terms of weather, tactics and our preparation.