North African side, Algeria are the reigning champions of the Africa Cup of Nations and will be playing to defend their crown at the tournament that gets underway on January 9 in Cameroon.
The Desert Warriors who edged Senegal 1-0, thanks to Baghdad Bounedjah’s lone strike in Egypt in 2019, are without a doubt tipped amongst the favourites to win the 33rd edition of the AFCON.
If they go ahead and do so, they will have become the only fourth team to retain the title in the history of the coveted tournament.
Only three teams including Egypt, Ghana and Cameroon have achieved the above feat and we shall be waiting to see whether Algeria can join the shortlist, come February 6 when the tournament climaxes.
Egypt who are also the record champions having been triumphant on seven occasions have done it twice, they won the first edition in 1957 and defended it in 1959.
The Pharaohs would later do it in style by clinching the crown thrice in succession that is; in 2006, 2008 and 2010- they remain the only team to do so.
Meanwhile, Ghana have also had a chance to retain the AFCON. The Black Stars won it in 1963 and went on to defend it in 1965.
On the other hand, Cameroon’s time would also arrive in the early 2000s. The Indomitable Lions were champions both in 2000 and 2002 and that was the last time a team retained the AFCON, to-date.
That said, current holders, Algeria have a bunch of players headed by captain Riyad Mahrez who plies his trade with English Premier League defending champions and current 20 team log leaders Manchester City.
Defenders Aissa Mandi and Ramy Bensebaini who play for Villarreal and Borussia Mönchengladbach in Spain and Germany respectively will major at the back.
Midfielder Ismael Bennacer of Italian giants AC Milan, forwards Said Benrahma of English side West Ham United, Adam Ounas of Italy’s Napoli and Islam Slimani of French side Lyon are all the squad.
Djamel Belmad’s charges are also the current holders of the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, a tournament where they beat neighbours Tunisia 2-0 in the final courtesy of Amir Sayoud and Yacine Brahimi goals in extra time.
Goalkeepers: Rais M’Bolhi (Ettifaq, Saudi Arabia), Alexandre Oukidja (Metz, France), Moustapha Zeghba (Damac, Saudi Arabia)
Defenders: Djameleddine Benlamri (Qatar SC, Qatar), Aissa Mandi (Villareal, Spain), Mohamed Amine Tougai, Ilyes Chetti, Abdelkader Bedrane (all Esperance, Tunisia), Ramy Bensebaini (Borussia Mönchengladbach, Germany), Youcef Atal (Nice, France), Houcine Benayada (Etoile du Sahel, Tunisia), Mohamed Reda Halaimia (Beerschot, Belgium), Mehdi Tahrat (Al Gharafa, Qatar)
Midfielders: Ismael Bennacer (AC Milan, Italy), Ramiz Zerrouki (FC Twente, Netherlands), Adem Zorgane (Charleroi, Belgium), Haris Belkebla (Brest, France), Sofiane Feghouli (Galatasaray, Turkey), Sofiane Bendebka (Al Fateh, Saudi Arabia)
Forwards: Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City, England), Adam Ounas (Napoli, Italy), Youcef Belaïli (Unattached), Said Benrahma (West Ham United, England), Yacine Brahimi (Al Rayyan, Qatar), Farid Boulaya (Metz, France), Islam Slimani (Lyon, France), Baghdad Bounedjah (Al Sadd, Qatar), Mohamed Amine Amoura (Lugano, Switzerland)
This post was written by Isaac Tamakloe, initially published by ghanasportspage.com and reproduced by kick442.com as an official partner media