Home Sport news Algeria wants to keep its crown, Egypt hopes to return to the top

Algeria wants to keep its crown, Egypt hopes to return to the top

by archysport

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Holders of the title, the Algerians start the CAN against Sierra Leone. Unbeaten for 34 matches, the Fennecs will be scrutinized for their entry into the competition. The Pharaohs of Egypt, who missed the last African Cup at home, will also be under pressure during the clash between them and Nigeria.

During CAN-2022, Algeria is the team to beat. Reigning African champions, Djamel Belmadi’s players have all the spotlight on them. For their opening match, Tuesday, January 11, against the modest team of Sierra Leone, the Greens will not be allowed to make mistakes.

After having flown over the qualifiers for the African Cup of Nations and those of the World Cup-2022 (4 wins and 2 draws in both cases), Algeria, led by its star Riyad Mahrez, remains on an impressive series of invincibility of 34 matches in all competitions, African record in progress. And, as if that were not enough, his team A ‘(without the European players) has just won the Arab Cup in Qatar, led by Youcef Belaïli and Yacine Brahimi, on fire during the tournament.

“The logical ambition to keep our title”

But the status of ultra-favored can be heavy to assume. In the past, the Fennecs had failed to cope with this pressure. During CAN-1992, Algeria, reigning champion, was eliminated in the first round. “The pressure from the title holder can only be positive. You do everything to reach a certain level or a certain status and then collapse? No!”, However declared the coach Djamel Belmadi, on December 30th.

On the eve of the first match against Sierra Leone, he renewed his team’s ambitions. “We will enter this battle tomorrow, with the logical ambition to keep our title. It will not be easy or easy, but we will do everything possible to achieve our goal,” he said on Monday. press conference.

Captain Riyad Mahrez agreed, even though he knows it won’t be easy: “It will be harder than CAN-2019. The level is higher and the teams are better,” explained the captain. of the Greens. “We arrive with a lot of desire and ambition to do the same CAN as 2019 and try to do something big for the country.”

The Fennecs will be able to count on an experienced workforce. Out of 28 players, 15 have already participated in a CAN. In their first Group E game, the team should easily overtake Sierra Leone. It will then face Equatorial Guinea, qualified on the field for the first time after two CAN as an organizer. The first real test will only come in the third match against Côte d’Ivoire.

The return of the Pharaohs?

Impressive or not, the Pharaohs are the eternal favorites of the CAN. Most successful selection of the African Cup of Nations (7 times champion, including three times in a row in 2006, 2008 and 2010), Egypt was reassured in the qualifiers after a CAN at home completely missed.

After a change of coach last September, the team has seen its workforce renew, but can count on experienced players. Brilliant in England and Europe with Liverpool, star Mohamed Salah will try to carry his homeland to a new continental title. The untenable “Mo” Salah scored 37 goals for Liverpool in 2021 and remains the main blaster of the “Reds” game. In selection too, he is the star, with 43 goals in 73 appearances, but he has yet to take his team to the top. Defeated 2-1 in the final by Cameroon in 2017, he failed pitifully at the international stadium in Cairo from the 8is CAN-2019 final at home against South Africa (1-0).

At the 2018 World Cup, he arrived injured, after a tackle from Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final. He misses the first game and, despite two goals, cannot prevent Egypt from returning from Russia with three defeats. This CAN is the opportunity to finally win in the national team. To achieve this, he can also rely on Mohamed Elneny of Arsenal, Mostafa Mohamed of Galatasaray or Mahmoud Hassan “Trézéguet” of Aston Villa.

The Pharaohs will start this competition hard. For their first match in Group D, they will offer themselves a shock against Nigeria, winner of the competition three times. The Super Eagles, who thanked their coach Gernot Rohr four weeks before kick-off, are deprived of Victor Osimhen, blocked by the Covid-19 in Naples, but remain formidable. Guinea-Bissau and Sudan are vying for the role of outsider of the hen.

With AFP

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