- Algeria have never won the CHAN
- They have won the AFCON twice
- They are hosting this year’s tournament
Algeria plays Niger in the semi-final of the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) in Oran, and head coach Madjid Bougherra is counting on the local support to help them sail to the final on home soil. The same home support pushed them through the quarter finals where they beat Ivory Coast 1-0 courtesy of a late penalty and Boughera hopes they can roar even louder in the semis.
“We are at home in Oran. We have travelled here from Algiers, and we are excited to see the support of the people of this beautiful city. We saw how they supported Algeria in the Mediterranean Games so we want to experience this too,” Bougherra said ahead of the duel.
The coach expects a tough game against the Nigeriens, who have made their best ever performance at the tournament and he acknowledges it will not be a walk in the park.
“In the knock-out stages, every game is important. Niger have played one less game and we have been following them closely. We felt that the team was getting tired towards the end of their last game but in the semi-finals, every game is psychological and not how tired one is. We shall play the game as it is and we hope to win,” said the coach.
One more step to our dream
He added; “It is the semi-final game. We only have one more step away from the final game and we shall try to achieve that. We know how to play against Niger. We have played them in friendly games that we won.”
Meanwhile, Niger will look to continue their dream run at the tournament when they take on hosts in the semi-finals.
This is the first time that the West African side have gotten this far in the competition and they are keen to show it has not been by fluke.
“It is a game that we have to play in a simple way. All we need to do is to win and go to the final. The pressure is on Algeria who are playing at home,” said Niger head coach Harouna Doula.
He added; “They have no choice but to win the match but for us, we want to meet our target which is to qualify for the final so we have no pressure at all.”
Solid defensive performances
Both Algeria and Niger have had solid defensive perfomances in the tournament with each yet to concede and the tactician believes it will be a tough duel.
The coach said; “We shall do the same thing that has brought us this far. We will try to replicate any successful move from our previous games. We will work on our mistakes and shortcomings. I have told my players that they need to set themselves free. They need to express themselves during the game and if they do this, we can win the game.”
Niger are competing in the CHAN for the fourth time and reached the quarterfinals for the first time thanks to Doula but failed to go past the group stages in 2016 and 2020.