Thursday Jan 23, 2020. 14:00
Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi says his side’s path to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be “long and complicated” but has backed the Fennec Foxes to return to the global showpiece after missing out in 2018.
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations champions were placed in Group A alongside Burkina Faso, Niger and Djibouti. Coming up against the Burkinabe is seen as a good omen for Algeria, who edged the West African side on away goals to secure qualification for the 2014 World Cup.
“This is the beginning of the adventure of the 2022 World Cup,” Belmadi told the Algerian Football Federation website, as quoted by Le Buteur.
“From this group, what we can say is that we have Burkina Faso, an adversary that we find again after the qualifiers for the 2014 edition, with the famous goal of [Madjid] Bougherra who sent us to Brazil.
“It is true that Burkina Faso was absent from the last AFCON, but for having spoken to [captain Charles] Kabouré, during our meeting in Marseille, he explained to me that his selection was unlucky since he had fallen into the wrong group.
“He explained to me that they had a large number of points, but that was insufficient to qualify because the group was so tight.
“Then there is Niger and Djibouti. Two teams on which I do not have a precise opinion. Here we have the whole group now. We’re going to have to get to work. Each match will obviously be a battle because there will be a World Cup qualification at the end. We’re showing optimism. We are going to try to deploy all our strength and all our know-how to pretend to finish first in the group.”
The Algeria coach added, “Everyone is warned. The road will be long and complicated and each match will have its truth and will of course have to be prepared as thoroughly as possible. We show a lot of humility, even after the continental title we obtained.
“We’ve been back to work since then, and this title should be a strength and an asset for us, not a weakness. We will work well on these adversaries and increase our strengths and reduce our weaknesses.”