Faouzi Chaouchi is blessed with all the qualities required for a modern goalkeeper. Scaling 1.94m, he is very tall, remarkably supple and armed with outstanding reflexes. Chaouchi began his career playing for his hometown club Bordj Menaiel. When Algeria just missed out on qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, he was light years away from playing at the highest level, captaining minnows JS Bordj Menaiel. Yet his good form that season, conceding just seven goals in 32 games, had begun to create interest from other clubs.
Chaouchi eventually made his professional debut for JS Kabylie, with whom he won the title in 2008, the highlight of a three season spell there from 2006 to 2009. He also made a name for himself by converting a penalty against Cotonsport Garoua in the CAF Champions League. Nicknamed “The Canary” by his fans, his good form did not go unnoticed by the national team coach. He was also immensely popular within his own club, not just for his outstanding ability, but also for his extrovert humour and dramatic displays of shot stopping. At the beginning of 2009, Chaouchi moved to Entente Sportive Setif and immediately won the North African Cup of Champions.
But it was in Khartoum, in the vital 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying play-off against Egypt, that Chaouchi became a hero in his homeland. Thrown into the starting eleven against the Pharaohs with usual first choice Lounes Gaouaoui out through suspension, the nerveless 24-year-old kept a clean sheet, repelling three clear chances and playing a major role in ensuring his country’s qualification. Unfortunately, the young shot-stopper had a worse time the next time he faced Egypt, being sent off and receiving a three match ban after the semi-final of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations. The suspension will not prevent him from being part of the Algerian coach’s plans for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but he will need to avoid another rush of blood in the future, for fear of doing damage to his career prospects. One thing is certain, Chaouchi will be under very close scrutiny in South Africa, especially given that a number of French clubs are showing interest in him. The global showpiece will be the opportunity for the ES Setif goalkeeper to show his best form and bring joy to the supporters who had so enjoyed seeing him line up in Angola, in spite of carrying a back injury.