It is an open contest for all, says Algeria coach Belmadi

It is an open contest for all, says Algeria coach Belmadi
Algeria head coach Djamel Belmadi

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Jun 21, 2019. 12:00

Almost three decades since they last won the Africa Cup of Nations (1990 on home soil), Algeria are hoping to reach the final of the 2019 edition when they line up against Senegal, Kenya and Tanzania in Group C.

Under new tactician Djamel Belmadi, a former Paris Saint Germain and Olympique de Marseille midfielder, ‘Les Fennecs’ have put their targets straight and have vowed to work them to fruition.

Belmadi sat down with the official CAF website and broke down the team’s ambition to break their trophy drought:

What are the chances of Algeria in a Group C which includes Kenya, Senegal and Tanzania?

It is a balanced group even if we will face the biggest challenge in Senegal, who are also one of the favourites. 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.

For the first time, the AFCON will have 24 teams. What do you make of the expansion?

It will be more open for all qualified teams especially that all the teams will have their say as we have seen during the qualifiers. 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.

What will Algeria's goal be in Egypt next June?

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.

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