AFCON teams to watch – Algeria
Winners in 1990, Algeria are one of the hot favourites to win this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea. Along with Nigeria, The Desert Foxes were one of just two African teams that qualified for the knockout phase at the 2014 World Cup. Before the World Cup the North Africans were thought of as a goal-shy ultra-defensive outfit, but they laid those ghosts to rest by scoring seven goals in four World Cup matches. Even their eventual elimination at the hands of champions Germany in the last 16 was met with praise, because they pushed the Germans all the way to extra time.
Their World cup performance propelled the Algerians to the summit of African Football as they became the top ranked side on the continent. And this new found “Kings of Africa” tag only inspired them to greater heights as they qualified for AFCON 2015 with ease. The Algerians won five of their six qualifiers and scored and impressive eleven goals. Midfielder Yacine Brahimi, who signed for Portuguese side FC Porto just after the 2014 World Cup, turned in some impressive performances during the AFCON qualifiers scoring three goals in the process.
But The Algerians won’t have all their way because they must first negotiate what many are calling the AFCON 2015 Group of Death. The North Africans have been grouped alongside 2010 World Cup quarterfinalists Ghana, the dangerous and star-studded Senegal and an ever-improving Bafana Bafana. But if the Foxes can play half as well as they have in the last 9 months then they look certain to be one of the teams on the pitch at the Estadio de Bata on the 8th of February.