Web Stories Thursday, February 29

ABIDJAN : Algeria are looking to end a four-game winless streak at the Africa Cup of Nations as they take on Burkina Faso in their second Group D match in Bouake on Saturday.

Algeria won the 2019 tournament on the back of inspiring performances from the likes of Riyad Mahrez and AC Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer, but the defence of their title in the next edition in Cameroon two years ago saw them finish last in their group without winning a game.

That campaign included a humiliating defeat to tiny Equatorial Guinea and a scoreless draw with lowly ranked Sierra Leone, who were making a rare appearance at the finals.

They began this year’s tournament in Ivory Coast with a 1-1 draw against unfancied Angola on Monday, dominating the match and scoring first before giving away a second-half penalty.

“We said we had to take the three points to get off to a good start but we didn’t do it, so now we’re going to do everything we can to take the three points,” Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi told a press conference on Friday.

“People keep talking to me about what happened in Cameroon but crying over it all the time solves nothing. If you fail in football, it’s about getting up again. We use those experiences to get back on our feet.”

Belmadi said the fact Algeria had not won in their past four finals games was immaterial. “Statistics are often important, they mean things but football is not always what we see in the statistics. What would have been even more worrying was not to see a team looking to play or attack,” he told reporters.

“When we see Angola, Equatorial Guinea, once again there are no more small teams. The teams work, they take their chances, they are well prepared. It’s not the top favourites that necessarily win,” Belmadi added.


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