The preparations for the AFCON are in the final stages for each and every team to have qualified and Algeria, who are in the same group as tournament favourites Senegal and East African rivals Tanzania and Kenya, have set a target of qualifying from the group first before they can start planning on going all the way and seal only the nation’s second African title.
Algeria are in Group C and will kick off their tournament against Kenya on Sunday 23 June. And even though Senegal and the Desert Foxes are the favourites to qualify from the group, Algeria’s head coach Djamel Belmadi is expecting stiff competition from Kenya and Tanzania who are returning back to the continental scene after a prolonged absence.
Harambee Stars are making a return back to the continental stage for the first time in 15 years while the Taifa Stars are returning after a 39 year absence.
“It is a balanced group even if we will face the biggest challenge in Senegal, who are also one of the favourites,”Belmadi, a former Algerian international with 20 caps to his name is quoted on CAF’s official portal.
“For Kenya and Tanzania, even though these two countries have not played the AFCON for several years, they still remain opponents against whom it will be necessary to play good matches and win.
“We will study the teams of the group well and prepare to be at our best on the day.”
Belmadi also went ahead to share on his team’s plans, “Nothing will be easy in this competition, because currently there are no more small teams. There is a great chance to go past the group stage but the competition will be harder from the quarter-finals.
“Our goal at first is to go beyond the first round and then fight on till the final, because we are not going to Egypt to add to the numbers.
“It will be necessary to fight for the title like all the big African football nations. It is important to enter the competition, acquire the necessary confidence then to go little by little as far as possible.”
Algeria won the 1990 Nations Cup on home soil which is their first and only title in the continent.