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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: Ivory Coast are one of the favourites – Algeria manager Belmadi

5:00 PM SGT 11/7/19
Djamel Belmadi - Algeria coach, Afcon 2019
The Fennecs boss acknowledged the strength of the Elephants and admitted the difficulty his side faces in their quest to progress to the last four

Algeria manager Djamel Belmadi believes Ivory Coast are one of the contenders to claim the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations.

Both sides face off in the third quarter-final of the biennial showpiece at the New Suez Stadium on Thursday evening. 

In the Round of 16, the North Africans defeated Guinea 3-0, while the Elephants claimed a slender 1-0 success over Mali.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Belmadi accepted they face a herculean task against the two-time winners of the biennial showpiece.

“Ivory Coast are one of the tournament favourites and they have a lot of players playing in huge leagues,” Belmadi said at his pre-match press conference.

“They won the competition in 2015 and have the experience. The game will be difficult and we have to win to qualify to the next round.

“We have to be a team that trusts its own capabilities.”

Furthermore, Belmadi was appreciative of the backing his team has received since the tournament began in June.

“The fans’ presence is very important and I thank them for coming to Egypt,” he said.

“It is not easy to go abroad to support the team, we are aware of that, and hope to repay their faith in us.”

Having claimed success in the competition just once, the Desert Foxes are aspiring to win their second Afcon title in 29 years.

The winner of the encounter between Algeria and Ivory Coast will face Nigeria on Sunday, July 14.