Football

Belmadi and Algeria seek reprieve after woeful AFCON campaign

Algeria team
  • Cameroon are seeking their eighth qualification to the World Cup
  • Algeria are looking to put behind their woeful AFCON experience
  • Cameroon has never lost to Algeria

Algeria’s Desert Foxes will look to put behind their backs a woeful title defense of the Africa Cup of Nations when they take on the dream to qualify for the World Cup, with a match against Cameroon in Douala on Friday evening.

The Algerians could not make it past the group stages of the 2021 tournament staged in Cameroon and as they return to the country where success eluded them, head coach Djabel Belmadi is keen to ensure they make a winning return.

“We are in 2022 and the page has to turn. Records and statistics are made to fall one day, but we also want to go to the World Cup,” the tactician stated.

He will come up against Rigobert Song, a name he knew only too well during his playing days and he is already relishing the challenge.

Algeria coach Djabel Belmadi

“Thank You for giving me the opportunity to greet Rigobert Song and to congratulate him on his appointment. I wish him a good career, but it will start after March 29th. That he has ambitions and above all wants to motivate his players is normal, we know the captain he was,” said Belmadi during the pre-match press conference.

While Belmadi is keen to see his side bounce back, this will be Song’s first match in charge of the team and is looking forward to make a winning start at the Japoma Stadium.

“I will make my contribution to galvanize the players to question themselves in order to produce the expected results,” said Song.

This will be the eighth official game pitting both Nations, with Cameroon winning four of their seven previous meetings, and the other three games ending in draws. Algeria has never beaten Cameroon in a competitive fixture.

The last time Cameroon and Algeria met in a competitive game, was on October 2017 at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaoundé, in the build up to the 2018 world cup.

Clinton NJie and Frantz Pangop were on target to help Cameroon secure a 2-0 win, though both sides eventually did not make it to Russia.

Cameroon finished third at the AFCON, beating Burkina Faso in the play-off and they will want to build on that momentum to put up a place in Qatar 2022.

Under the leadership of Samuel Eto’o at the Federation, the former international is keen to see his country qualify for the World Cup in his first year in charge.

Samuel Eto’o visiting the team in training

The Indomitable Lions will miss the services of midfielder Franck Zambo Anguissa and defender Moumi Ngamaleu for the tie, while Algeria will be without their star forward Baghdad Bounedjah.

Algeria will look on the inspiration of Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez in their quest to appear at the World Cup for a fifth time. Their last appearance was in Brazil 2014 when they reached the round of 16. They have previously played at the 1982, 1986 and 2010 editions.

Cameroon meanwhile have appeared in the finals of the FIFA World Cup on seven occasions, the first being in 1982. Their best performance was in 1990 when the legion led by Roger Milla reach the quarter final of the Italy showpiece.

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