Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.

 

Algeria coach wary of outsiders Zimbabwe

15 January 2017, 06:05

Franceville - Virtually all the pre-2017 Africa Cup of Nations talk about Group B has concerned which two countries from Algeria, Senegal and Tunisia will advance to the quarter-finals.

Zimbabwe, who complete the quartet based in southeastern Gabonese city Franceville, have been dismissed as no-hopers in a section featuring three of the top five ranked African teams.

The Senegalese headed the monthly FIFA listings released this week with the Tunisians fourth, the Algerians fifth, and the Zimbabweans a distant 30th.

Recently appointed Algeria coach Georges Leekens has warned, however, that his 'Desert Foxes' dare not underestimate the 'Warriors', the lone qualifiers from southern Africa.

Algeria confront Zimbabwe Sunday in the first half of a double-header at the 20,000-seat Stade de Franceville, followed by Senegal against Tunisia.

"All the Algerian media and public are talking about is Senegal and Tunisia," acknowledged experienced Belgium-born Leekens, "but I am thinking only of Zimbabwe.

"I know they had some pre-tournament problems regarding bonuses, but the Cup of Nations history is littered with teams who have defied off-field problems to succeed.

"Zimbabwe travelled to Cameroon this week and drew 1-1 in a warm-up match -- that was an impressive result against a country that have been African champions four times.

"I view our game against them as a tough challenge. We need to apply our minds 100 percent to how we are going to conquer Zimbabwe."

Also read: Mahrez, high-rise Desert Fox takes on Africa

Leekens has good reason to respect the 'Warriors' as they triumphed 2-1 in the only previous Cup of Nations clash between the countries.

Many pundits see Algeria as potential successors to 2015 African champions the Ivory Coast, especially with new African Footballer of the Year Riyad Mahrez among their stars.

But Algeria have won the Cup of Nations only once, and that was when they hosted a then eight-team tournament 27 years ago.

They started the 2015 tournament in Equatorial Guinea as title favourites only to be fall 3-1 to the Ivorians in the quarter-finals with Wilfried Bony bagging a brace.

While there are questions about the Algerian defence, Mahrez and Yacine Brahimi provide midfield creativity and Islam Slimani and El Arabi Hillel Soudani are potent strikers.

Zimbabwe also look threatening up front with Knowledge Musona scoring regularly in Belgium and Khama Billiat starring for 2016 CAF Champions League winners Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.

Senegal are another country being touted as potential champions, not least because they possess consistent scorers like Sadio Mane of Liverpool and Keita Balde of Lazio.

However, the Teranga Lions came to Gabon in 2012 and Equatorial Guinea in 2015 with equally star-stacked squads and flopped.

They lost all three group games on the first occasion and won only one two years ago to make another timid early exit.

Tunisia may lack big-name footballers, but have not lost to Senegal in four previous Africa Cup clashes.

Goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi ranks among the best in Africa and Aymen Abdennour from La Liga strugglers Valencia is a classy defender.

Further forward, midfielder Youssef Msakni scores regularly while Polish coach Henryk Kasperczak hopes a lack of game time at Sunderland will not dilute the threat posed by striker Wahbi Khazri.

With the general media consensus being that Algeria will win Group B, Senegal and Tunisia could well be playing for a place in the knockout phase.

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.

- AFP

NEXT ON NEWS24 NIGERIAX
&nbps;

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Separating kitchen politics from ...

Like everyone else, I believe that the most popular definition of democracy is “government of the people, by the people and for the people”. Read more...

Submitted by
Bethel Tanifo
Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, ...

Like NDDC Unlike MONDA. This notion is an intuition that does not portend political participation, affiliation, intrusion or aggression but a submission with the intention of completion of the previous administration's noble vision. Read more...

Submitted by
Bethel Tanifo
Nigerian Constitution versus Corr...

The problems of Nigeria is not in its conventional composition, formation, functionality, constitution or treaty, while the solutions are not disintegrations as promulgated by some faiths fanatics and bigotries.  Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Much Ado about Trump’s Presidency

It was unbelievable when the social and mainstream media all over the world began airing the breaking news of Donald Trump’s victory in the most contentious US Presidential elections in recent years. Read more...

Submitted by
Mike Daemon
Nigerian author highlights gay ch...

A new novel by a prolific young Nigerian author features gay characters, which could help increase the visibility of the gay community and possibly lead to greater understanding of LGBT Nigerians. Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Your Excellency, I will call you ...

Your Excellency, Governor Adams Oshiomhole, as a leader that pays attention to details, I understand that the odd title of this piece would definitely arouse your curiosity.  Read more...