Algeria to learn from Afcon flop

Islam Slimani (AFP)
Islam Slimani (AFP)

Cape Town - Algeria midfielder Yacine Brahimi says harsh lessons have been learnt from the disappointing outing at the 2017 African Nations Cup finals in Gabon as the team gets ready to start the 2019 preliminaries on Sunday.

Algeria were among the favourites for the tournament in Gabon in January but flopped in the first round, exiting without reaching the knockout stage and seeing coach George Leekens quit.

“Obviously, even if it is past, we have reviewed our previous games. It is always useful to analyse what we have done. And we realise we missed things. We must learn from our mistakes. Now it is clear that we have to look to the future. We must raise our head and our level. That's why we are 100% focused on this match,” said Brahimi in an interview with reporters ahead of Sunday’s Group D game against Togo in Blida.

It will be the first competitive game in charge for Luis Alcaraz, who was appointed in April.

“I'm sure he will bring us many good things to the team,” Brahimi said of the new coach who he played under at Granada in La Liga.

“Winning is a permanent goal for us. It is always reassuring to start a competition well. We will do everything to win in this first match of the qualifiers against Togo,” the FC Porto midfielder added.

Algeria’s squad sees the return to the team of Sofiane Feghouli, Carl Medjani, Ryad Boudebouz and Mehdi Zeffane who were left out of the Nations Cup finals squad for Gabon in January.

Newcomers include goalkeeper Mehdi Jeannin from Ligue 2 club Clermont Foot and Idriss Saaidi, who played for France at junior level but has now switched his international allegiance.

SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Mehdi Jeannin (Clermont Foot, France), Rais Mbolhi (Stade Rennes, France), Chemseddine Rahmani (MO Bejaia)

Defenders: Youcef Atal (Paradou AC), Ramy Bensebaini (Stade Rennes, France), Brahim Boudebouda (MC Alger), Faouzi Ghoulam (Napoli, Italy), Illias Hassani (Vereya Stara Zagora, Bulgaria), Aissa Mandi (Real Betis, Spain), Carl Medjani (Trabzonspor, Turkey), Mehdi Zeffane (Stade Rennes, France)

Midfielders: Raouf Benghit (USM Alger), Nabil Bentaleb (Schalke 04, Germany), Ryad Boudebouz (Montpellier, France), Yassine Brahimi (FC Porto, Portugal), Sofiane Feghouli (West Ham United, England), Adlene Guedioura (Middlesbrough, England), Abderrahim Hamra (USM Alger), Tayeb Meziani (Paradou AC), Saphir Taider (Bologna, Italy)

Forwards: Sofiane Hanni (Anderlecht, Belgium), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City, England), Idriss Saadi (Kortrijk, Belgium), Islam Slimani (Leicester City, England), El Arabi Soudani (Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia).

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