African nations: Algeria opens title defense campaign against Sierra Leone

Douala: The Algerian national team will begin the campaign to defend the Africa Cup of Nations title, won in the last edition of 2019, when tomorrow, Tuesday, they will face their counterpart from Sierra Leone, in the first round of matches of the fifth group of stage a rounds of the competition, which is taking place in Cameroon. The Algerian team, which also crowned the championship when they hosted it in its stadiums in 1990, are looking to take another step on their way to the record of the largest number of teams in the world to avoid losing in consecutive matches, which the Italian team (the European champion) currently holds. Algeria, which is participating for the 19th time in the Africa Cup of Nations, has retained its record of unbeatenness in 34 consecutive games in various tournaments, to become obliged to avoid defeat in the next four games of the continental competition to establish the record world. The unbeaten run of the Algerian team began in November 2018 when they beat Togo 4-1, continuing their positive results in All competitions, the last of which was a 3-0 win over Ghana in a friendly last Wednesday, in preparation for Africa Nations in the capital of Qatar, Doha. . The team, nicknamed “Desert Warriors”, ranks 29th in the world and third in Africa in the latest team ranking drawn up by the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA), will meet Equatorial Guinea in the second round of the group next Sunday, before concluding his matches with a tough match against the Ivory Coast national team on January 20. It seems a favorable opportunity for the Algerians to collect the three points in the match that takes place at the Jaboma stadium in the Cameroonian city of Douala, given its overwhelming superiority over the opponent in terms of material and technical skills. occurred in Gabon in 2017. The Algerian team retained many of its stars that led to the coronation of the African Nations two and a half years ago, led by Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City star, Sofiane Feghouli, the Turkish Galatasaray midfielder, Ismail bin Nasser and Adam Ounas, the Italian players of Milan and Naples respectively, as well as goalkeeper Wahab Rais Mbolhi, professional in the ranks of Ettifaq’s Saudi team. For its part, Sierra Leone returns to participate in the tournament for the first time in 26 years old, while he is preparing to record his third appearance in the African Nations, after having participated in the 1994 and 1996 editions, without passing the group stage. And the team from Sierra Leone, ranked 108th in the world and 25th in Africa, has booked the latest qualifying cards for the edition in course of the African Nations, after finishing second in their group in the qualifiers behind the Nigerian team, overtaking the teams of Benin and Lesotho. Sierra Leone employs 15 professionals outside the country, but most of them belong to club submerged in Europe, which makes the difference between it and the rest of the group, but will certainly try to snatch at least third place, hoping to qualify for the round of 16 of the tournament among the best 4 thirds of the six First floor groups. It will be the second confrontation between Algeria and Sierra Leone in the African Nations, after they had met in precedence in the group stage of the competition version held in South Africa in 1996 when the Algerians beat 2-0. In general, the two teams have faced each other in 3 comparisons in various tournaments, during which the Algerian team obtained two victories, while the draw imposed the same on only one match. (Dpa)