Professional Football Player
Rafik Saïfi is an Algerian professional football player who is currently playing for FC Istres on loan from Al-Khor Sports Club.
Starting his career at MC Alger in his home city and after helping the team capture the Algerian league title he moved to France in 1999 at the age of 24 to join Troyes AC. He stayed with Troyes for five seasons, including the 2003-04 season after their relegation to Ligue 2. Moving back into Ligue 1 with a transfer to newly-promoted FC Istres in 2004, Saïfi played 35 matches before leaving following the club's relegation. In 2005 he joined AC Ajaccio, also newly-promoted, and suffered a third relegation in four years.Saïfi moved to FC Lorient, yet another newly-promoted club, in the summer of 2006. Rafik started the 2007-2008 campaign quickly scoring 4 goals in 4 games and signed than on 08 August 2009 a contract with Al Khor.
On August 9, 2009, Saïfi joined Al-Khor on a one-year contract with the club paying a transfer of fee of €500,000 to FC Lorient. Saïfi scored his first goal for the club on his league debut in a match against Al-Gharafa on September 12, 2009. On October 22, 2009, he scored his second league goal, this time against Al-Kharitiyath.
On January 23, 2010, it was announced that Saïfi would be loaned out to Ligue 2 side FC Istres until the end of the season. The move was made official on February 2, 2010.
Saïfi made his debut for the Algerian National Team on June 5, 1998, in a friendly against Bulgaria, coming on as a substitute in the 65th minute. On February 28, 1999, he scored his first international goal in the 2000 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Liberia which ended as 1-1 draw. He scored his second goal in the following game, a 4-1 win in the return leg against Liberia.
Saïfi was called up by Algeria head coach Nasser Sandjak to the Algerian National Team that was taking part in the 2000 African Cup of Nations in Ghana and Nigeria. In the first game against DR Congo, Saïfi started the game and was subbed off in the 70th minute, with the game ending in a goalless draw. In the second group game against Gabon, Saïfi was left out of the starting line-up and was a substitute on the bench but he did take part as he came on in the 77th minute, replacing his Troyes AC teammate Farid Ghazi. Algeria won the game 3-1. He did not take part in the final group game against South Africa. In the quarter-final against Cameroon, Saïfi was left on the bench again but came on in the 51st minute with Algeria loosing 2-0. The team managed to pull a goal back in the 90th minute but lost the game 2-1.
Saïfi was a member of the Algerian team that participated in the 2002 African Cup of Nations in Mali and started all three group games against Nigeria, Liberia and hosts Mali. Despite the fact that Algeria failed to make it out of the group stage, Saïfi put in a "best eleven" performance and was included in the team of the tournament.
Saïfi was made his third trip to the African Cup after being included by Algeria manager Rabah Saadane in the team list for the 2010 African Cup of Nations in Angola. He started in Algeria's first game against Malawi, a 3-0 loss, but was subbed off in the 63rd minute by Abdelmalek Ziaya. He started the second game against Mali, a 1-0 win, on the bench and came on in the 80th minute for Abdelkader Ghezzal.