Kenya not to be taken lightly, warns Algeria coach

Djamel Belmadi (Getty Images)
Djamel Belmadi (Getty Images)

Cairo - Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi says unfancied Kenya will not be underestimated when the two sides clash in their opening Africa Cup of Nations match in Group C on Sunday in Cairo.

Kenya are returning to the continental showpiece for the first time since 2004 and will head into their showdown with an Algerian squad featuring former African footballer of the year Riyad Mahrez as clear underdogs.

However, the Desert Foxes missed out on qualifying for last year's World Cup and fared poorly at the 2017 Cup of Nations as they crashed out in the group stage.

"You must not take these (smaller) teams lightly," Belmadi said on Saturday. "We saw a balanced match last night (between Egypt and Zimbabwe). We've more than been warned."

"We're a team that is in the process of rebuilding and that wants to do well," said Belmadi, keen to temper expectations.

"To be favourites, you need to have to won at least once not on home soil. We were eliminated in 2017, we weren't at the World Cup. There is nothing there to say we are favourites."

Algeria's lone triumph came in 1990 when as hosts they won what was then an eight-team tournament.

"Obviously we have the desire to go as far as possible and why not win the trophy. That's our competition spirit, just like the other teams."

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