AFCON 2021 Preview: Algeria

The 2019 AFCON Champions Algeria are one of the favorites to lift the trophy in 2021. The North African side won the Arab Cup recently and have progressed to the last 10 of the World Cup qualifiers. A team filled with stars and young prospects; Algeria will not be an easy outfit for anyone they face. Ahead of the tournament in Cameroon, we at Soccer Ethiopia spoke to Algerian football journalist Walid Ziani.

– Will anything other than a trophy be a disappointment for Algeria? What are you expecting from them?

No, although we are favorites and would love to repeat as champions, I think the ultimate objective of the coach and the players is to qualify for the World Cup. I’m sure they will give it their all during this African Cup but if they don’t win, I don’t think it will be considered a disappointment. With that being said, anything less than a quarter-final appearance will be a disappointment.

– Tell us about the coach and playing style.

Djamel Belmadi took over as Algeria coach in mid-2018 and has completely transformed the Algeria national team. He led Algeria to the 2019 Africa Cup title and is currently on a 33-match unbeaten streak. Although he’s a strict disciplinarian on and off the pitch, he has a special bond with his players and has been able to bring the most out of them.

The playing style has not changed much since he has taken over. His preferred formation is a 4-3-2-1 with 1 defensive midfielder, 2 central midfielders, 2 wingers, and a striker. He’s also played with a 4-4-2 with 2 strikers depending on the opponent and players available. He’s a very pragmatic coach but also very demanding tactically from his players, including his stars like Riyad Mahrez.

– Who are you expecting to shine for Algeria in this tournament? Is anyone other than Mahrez?

Youcef Belaili was one of Algeria’s most influential players in the 2019 African Cup and I tip him to do the same again this time around. Among the new players, look out for Ramiz Zerrouki and Adem Zorgane, 2 younger central midfielders who can be breakout players during this tournament.

– Which team do you think will be the toughest competitor?

Our 3rd group stage match against Ivory Coast will be a very tough test. We beat them in the QFs in 2019 and the Elephants will be very hungry to get their revenge, especially since they were eliminated from the World Cup qualifiers. 2019 finalists Senegal will also be one of the favorites to lift the title, and you can never count out the hosts Cameroon and giants Nigeria.

– Also, what areas of the team are of concern to you and most Algerians.

Despite our recent success, there’s still a lot of question marks about the team after some underwhelming performances in recent games, namely the 2 draws against Burkina Faso. From the back to the front, goalkeeping, defense, defensive midfield, and striker(s). There’s a lot of questions going into AFCON.

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Betking EthPL

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Round 1
17 Oct 2021 - 14:00
HAWASSA
1
0
JIMMA
17 Oct 2021 - 18:00
DIRE
1
0
DICHA
18 Oct 2021 - 15:00
ADAMA
1
1
WOLKITE
18 Oct 2021 - 18:00
AMK
0
1
MEKELAKEYA
19 Oct 2021 - 15:00
BAHIRDAR
3
0
AA
19 Oct 2021 - 18:00
BUNNA
0
0
SIDAMA
20 Oct 2021 - 15:00
FASIL
3
1
HOSSANA
20 Oct 2021 - 18:00
SEBETA
0
0
GIORGIS
Round 2
23 Oct 2021 - 14:00
JIMMA
0
1
ADAMA
23 Oct 2021 - 18:00
DICHA
1
0
HAWASSA
24 Oct 2021 - 14:00
AA
1
2
AMK
24 Oct 2021 - 18:00
SIDAMA
3
0
DIRE
25 Oct 2021 - 15:00
HOSSANA
0
1
BAHIRDAR
25 Oct 2021 - 18:00
WOLKITE
0
1
FASIL
26 Oct 2021 - 15:00
SEBETA
0
1
MEKELAKEYA
26 Oct 2021 - 18:00
GIORGIS
4
1
BUNNA
Round 3
29 Oct 2021 - 15:00
HAWASSA
2
1
SIDAMA
29 Oct 2021 - 18:00
ADAMA
0
1
DICHA
30 Oct 2021 - 14:00
BAHIRDAR
1
1
WOLKITE
30 Oct 2021 - 18:00
FASIL
4
0
JIMMA
31 Oct 2021 - 14:00
BUNNA
0
0
SEBETA
31 Oct 2021 - 18:00
MEKELAKEYA
0
3
AA
1 Nov 2021 - 15:00
DIRE
1
1
GIORGIS
1 Nov 2021 - 18:00
AMK
1
1
HOSSANA
Round 4
21 Nov 2021 - 15:00
AMK
2
1
BAHIRDAR
21 Nov 2021 - 18:00
WOLKITE
1
0
HAWASSA
22 Nov 2021 - 15:00
AA
2
1
FASIL
22 Nov 2021 - 18:00
HOSSANA
0
0
ADAMA
23 Nov 2021 - 15:00
DICHA
3
1
BUNNA
23 Nov 2021 - 18:00
JIMMA
1
3
DIRE
24 Nov 2021 - 15:00
SIDAMA
1
1
SEBETA
24 Nov 2021 - 18:00
MEKELAKEYA
0
0
GIORGIS
Round 5
27 Nov 2021 - 15:00
HAWASSA
0
0
HOSSANA
27 Nov 2021 - 18:00
FASIL
1
1
AMK
28 Nov 2021 - 15:00
DIRE
0
1
WOLKITE
28 Nov 2021 - 18:00
ADAMA
1
1
AA
29 Nov 2021 - 15:00
BAHIRDAR
0
2
MEKELAKEYA
29 Nov 2021 - 18:00
SEBETA
2
4
DICHA
30 Nov 2021 - 15:00
GIORGIS
1
1
SIDAMA
30 Nov 2021 - 18:00
BUNNA
2
1
JIMMA
Round 6
3 Dec 2021 - 15:00
SEBETA
0
0
DIRE
3 Dec 2021 - 18:00
HOSSANA
0
1
AA
4 Dec 2021 - 15:00
DICHA
0
0
FASIL
4 Dec 2021 - 18:00
WOLKITE
0
0
AMK
5 Dec 2021 - 15:00
GIORGIS
2
1
HAWASSA
5 Dec 2021 - 18:00
SIDAMA
1
1
ADAMA
6 Dec 2021 - 15:00
BUNNA
1
0
MEKELAKEYA
6 Dec 2021 - 18:00
JIMMA
0
2
BAHIRDAR
Round 7
9 Dec 2021 - 15:00
AA
0
1
WOLKITE
9 Dec 2021 - 18:00
FASIL
4
0
SIDAMA
10 Dec 2021 - 15:00
BAHIRDAR
3
1
DICHA
10 Dec 2021 - 18:00
MEKELAKEYA
0
2
HOSSANA
11 Dec 2021 - 15:00
ADAMA
0
0
GIORGIS
11 Dec 2021 - 18:00
HAWASSA
3
1
SEBETA
12 Dec 2021 - 15:00
AMK
0
0
JIMMA
12 Dec 2021 - 18:00
DIRE
0
2
BUNNA
Round 8
15 Dec 2021 - 15:00
MEKELAKEYA
0
0
SIDAMA
15 Dec 2021 - 18:00
BAHIRDAR
0
0
FASIL
16 Dec 2021 - 15:00
HOSSANA
3
2
DIRE
16 Dec 2021 - 18:00
AA
1
1
HAWASSA
17 Dec 2021 - 15:00
DICHA
0
1
GIORGIS
17 Dec 2021 - 18:00
WOLKITE
0
1
BUNNA
18 Dec 2021 - 15:00
AMK
1
1
ADAMA
18 Dec 2021 - 15:00
JIMMA
0
1
SEBETA
Round 9
21 Dec 2021 - 15:00
FASIL
1
0
MEKELAKEYA
21 Dec 2021 - 18:00
DIRE
1
0
AA
22 Dec 2021 - 15:00
SIDAMA
2
0
DICHA
22 Dec 2021 - 18:00
BUNNA
0
1
HOSSANA
23 Dec 2021 - 15:00
SEBETA
2
3
WOLKITE
23 Dec 2021 - 18:00
GIORGIS
1
0
JIMMA
24 Dec 2021 - 15:00
ADAMA
1
0
BAHIRDAR
24 Dec 2021 - 18:00
HAWASSA
1
0
AMK

Standing Table

# Club P W D L Pt
1
FASIL
9 5 3 1 18
2
GIORGIS
9 4 5 0 17
3
WOLKITE
9 4 3 2 15
4
BAHIRDAR
9 4 2 3 14
5
HAWASSA
9 4 2 3 14
6
BUNNA
9 4 2 3 14
7
DICHA
9 4 1 4 13
8
ADAMA
9 2 6 1 12
9
HOSSANA
9 3 3 3 12
10
SIDAMA
9 2 5 2 11
11
AMK
9 2 5 2 11
12
AA
9 3 2 4 11
13
DIRE
9 3 2 4 11
14
MEKELAKEYA
9 3 2 4 11
15
SEBETA
9 1 4 4 7
16
JIMMA
9 0 1 8 1

Top Scorers

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