LAlgeria head coach Djamel Belmadi says his side must be very prepared to overcome the Super Eagles in their AFCON 2019 semifinal clash on Sunday at the Cairo International Stadium, Completesports.com reports.
The Desert Foxes passed a difficult test against the Elephants of Cote d’lvoire in the quarterfinals on Thursday, but Belmadi believes the Super Eagles poses a bigger threat to his team.
“We played two days ago against Ivory Coast, but we have tried to recover in time for our semifinal game against Nigeria, “Belmadi told a news conference in Cairo on Saturday.
“It is a semifinal game and we must be well prepared much more than normal. Defensively, we have to be on top of our game against a difficult Nigerian side with good players. We will not divulge our tactical plans here.”
Belmadi also refutes claims that the Desert Foxes are the favourites to win the semifinal game and the competition.
“The semifinal is an equal stage for the four teams remaining in the competition. There are no favourites for now in the competition. Algeria, Nigeria, Tunisia and Senegal all have equal chances of winning,” he added.
Algeria have won the Africa Cup of Nations only once – on home soil in 1990, when they defeated the Super Eagles then led by Dutchman Clemens Westerhof 1-0 in the final.
Belmadi says it’s challenge for current set of players to write their names too in the history book by winning it once again for Algeria.
“We won the AFCON title at home in 1990 and it has become more difficult to win it since then. We had great players who won it then. Before then, we did well at the World Cup. Those guys are legends of Algerian football. They have good history as well,” he said.
“The players here want to create their own history too. It will be great to do that, but we have to beat Nigeria first and then win the final.”
By Adeboye Amosu (pix: by Ganiyu Yusuf) In Cairo