Antar Yahia: Algeria's indomitable sentry

Antar Yahia's magical strike took Algeria to South Africa, but his contribution won't end there

Tall and strong, he's a dominating presence in Algeria's defence

Antar Yahia    

Born: March 21, 1982 in Mulhouse, France  

Position: Defender   

Clubs played for: As a teen, Antar Yahi spilt his education between Sochaux and Inter Milan's youth systems. Inter had Yahia on loan to Corsican side Bastia, where he eventually signed a contract and played three seasons before moving to Nice in 2005. After two seasons, Yahia was put on loan to Bochum and in 2007, the team secured his services for $1 million US.   

International career: Yahia is one of the players to benefit from a FIFA rule change allowing players who played for one country at the youth level to play for another country at the senior level. Born in France, Yahia played for France's under-18 team before deciding to play for his parent's home country. He featured with Algeria's under-23 squad before making his senior debut for Les Fennecs (The Desert Foxes) against Mali in January 2004. Yahi was named 2009 Arab Player of the Year.  

Why is he so special? Tall and strong, Yahia is a dominating presence in the middle of Algeria's defence, and is willing to throw his weight, and his sledgehammer foot, around to add a dimension to the offence.  

His most famous moment: All of Algeria (and Egypt) will never forget the moment Antar Yahi fired home the goal that sent Les Fennecs to its first World Cup since 1986. Five minutes before the end of the first half, Algerian midfielder Karim Ziani launched a ball to the top of Egypt's box, where Yahia watched it bounce once before driving it beyond Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary.

He said it: "Nobody needs to tell me that I have to continue to do my utmost. I am a fighter and I'll do whatever it takes to achieve my goals. I will always do my utmost."  

What they're saying about him: "Antar Yahia is an important part of the team." Rabah Saadane, Algeria manager  

Here is an interesting fact: After Egyptian fans attacked Algeria's team bus immediately following Egypt's dramatic 2-0 win, which necessitated a tiebreaking playoff between the north-African rivals, Yahia would only shake the hand of one Egyptian player: "I refused to shake the hands of all Egyptian players except for [Mohamed] Aboutrika. I shook his hand and told him, 'You deserve it because you're a man' … Did they come and talk to us after the match in Cairo? No, they didn't, so I don't have to show respect to those who don't have any for me."