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Algeria, Tunisia look to stabilize AFCON hopes

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Algeria players celebrate a goal in their opening match. PHOTO/CAF
  • Algeria drew their first match and have to win the second
  • Tunisia were stunned by Namibia in their opener
  • Angola face Mauritania in the other match of the day

 Algeria and Tunisia are seeking to put their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) hopes on the balance when they play their second round of group stage matches on Sunday night.

Algeria head coach Djamel Belmadi has asked his players to dig in maximum effort as they take on a tricky Burkina Faso side.

Algeria played to a draw against Angola on their opening match and another failure to get maximum points might see them in danger of leaving the tournament early, just as they did in Cameroon in 2021.

“We said at the beginning of the tournament that it is very important for us to have three points but we couldn’t. This is our second match and our objective is to win, we will put in all the efforts in order to win the game,” Belmadi said ahead of the duel.

The tactician admits that the heat expected in Bouake might be a factor, but notes that he has a good squad with optimal bench power to come in when others are fatigued.

Algeria expect a tough game against Burkina Faso. In their last nine meetings, results have been balanced with Algeria winning three and losing three, while the rest ended in draws.

Burkina Faso though will provide a tough challenge as they are equally upbeat of victory.

Algeria up against tough Burkina side 


Burkina Faso coach Herbert Velud. PHOTO/CAF

Head coach Herbert Velud says his side will go all out and give their best, as they seek qualification to the round of 16.

The Burkinabe beat Mauritania 1-0 in their opening match last week courtesy of a last gasp Berntrand Traore penalty, and coming up against tougher opposition, Velud knows they need to be at their best.

“We are going to have a very important game, we already know this is going to be tougher. Algeria is a very good team so we have made our preparations the right way. Algeria is a tougher opponent and we will make sure we do everything and make sure we get the victory,” the coach said.

Elsewhere, Tunisia’s Carthage Eagles were stunned 1-0 by Namibia in their opening match of Group E, and they hope to bounce back when they take on a tougher Mali side in their second match.

Head coach Jalel Kadri says his team picked vital lessons from the duel against Namibia, and will be keen not to repeat the same mistakes against Mali’s Eagles.

A second defeat will be heartbreaking for Tunisia, as it will greatly hinder their chances of making it out of the group stages.

“We know what is at stake and know that anything less than a victory spells our end in the competition. We have identified our mistakes and are working hard to ensure that they do not happen again,” Kadri said, speaking ahead of the game.

He is also wary that Mali has some really good individual talents, and says they need to ensure they shut them out and minimize their strengths.

“They have good players who play for good teams but for us to get a result, we need to plan for the entire team and not individual players. Our analysis of them is based on the entire team and not so much on individual stars. We know them but we would rather plan for the entire team instead of individuals,” further said the coach.

Angola look for positive result 


Angola players at the AFCON. PHOTO/CAF

Meanwhile, Angola head coach Pedro Goncalves has warned his players to expect a difficult duel when they meet against Mauritania in their second Group D match.

Angola have one point from their opening day draw against Algeria, and they will seek a win to boost their chances of making the last 16.

Coach Goncalves is optimistic that his side is in the right mentality to fight for a win.

“Our mentality and vision is the same going into this game. One of the aspects we have been able to work on is to adapt quickly to the rhythm of the game and we are going to focus on this because at the end of the day we must get the results that we need,” the coach said.

He added; “It is a high capacity game and we must embrace what comes with it against Mauritania. I have followed the efforts of Mauritania in recent times and how they have performed but my focus is on my team and how they will perform.”

The tactician has called on his players to put in the same momentum and tempo they had against Algeria, to get a good result.

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