Algeria are approaching the final stage of their preparations for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt, and much of their focus from now on will be trained on their first match, against Kenya’s Harambee Stars on Sunday 23 June.
After picking a hard-fought 3 – 2 victory over Mali in the last of their pre-tournament friendly matches, the team’s star forward Riyad Mahrez believes they will open the competition with a win.
Quoted on DZ Football, Mahrez said, “We will have no excuses against Kenya. We are ready for AFCON. We played against a very good team in the form of Mali.
“Scoring three goals is something important and uncommon. The last time we achieved that was against Togo. This is a very good thing but we are not carried away and we will stay focused because the next game against Kenya will be harder,” the Manchester City forward said.
Algeria are based in Doha, Qatar where the climatic conditions are similar to Egypt.
“We feel physically better. As I said in the first game, we gradually build up. After organising his preparation, the manager insisted that we come here knowing that the conditions are similar to those that we will have in Egypt.” He added
Algeria have played two friendly games in preparation for the competition – against and Mali, drawing with Burundi and claiming a win over Mali.
“In this match, we played well in the first 20 minutes, then we dropped a little intensity. We conceded goals that we could have avoided. On the other hand, I think that we came back stronger in the second half. After the 70th minute , I think we managed to beat them and we could have ended up scoring four or five goals thanks to the opportunities we created.“
Algeria are placed in the same group alongside Kenya, Senegal and Tanzania.