By Amakye Ansah
•Preview Of all the 24 qualified countries for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations
• Next year’s s tournament will be the 33rd edition.
•The delayed tournament will finally kick off in Cameroon from January 9th to February 6th.
24 teams will battle it out for the crown. Defending champions Algeria will want to defend the title they won in Egypt. Cameroon will love to host and win, Egypt has been missing the trophy for the last 11 years. West Africa giants; Ghana, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast will all fancy their chances.
Here, Africa- foot.com previews all the 24 countries
AFCON 2021 Team guides
#1. Algeria 🇩🇿
Nickname: The Greens, Desert Warriors
Last Appearance: 2019
Coach: Djamel Belmadi
Best AFCON results: winners ( 1990,2019)
Skipper: Riyad Mahrez
Player to watch: Riyad Mahrez
CAF Rankings: 3
FIFA Rankings: 29
Algeria remains one of the favourites considering all factors, they have won the competition on two occasions and are the defending champions. They should be ranked higher than the 29 by FIFA. The Greens are excellent and delightful to watch. The North African giants are the team to beat. They are on 39 matches unbeaten run. The Greens are unbeaten since the 1-0 defeat against Benin on 16th October 2018 during the qualifiers for the 2019 AFCON in Egypt. The Desert Warriors are high on confidence after winning the FIFA Arab Cup in Qatar. Djamel Belmadi knows the task ahead and will fancy defending the title. They are among the 10 countries waiting for the playoff draw for Qatar 2020. They don’t lack quality, hence play beautiful football. In a group with Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast, Desert Warriors are expected to progress to the next stage.
The core of the team
The base of the team is Rais M’bolhi (GK). The Al-Ettifaq goalkeeper is the player with the most caps (88) among the current squad. He’s the second most capped player behind Lakhdar Belloumi (100 caps).
He has been with the team since 2010.
Aissa Mandi and Ramy Bensabaini of Villareal and Borrusia Monchengladbach respectively will lead them from the back.
AC Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer will anchor the midfield.
Their strength undoubtedly is their attack. They boast of star men Riyad Mahrez, Said Benrahma, Islam Slimani ( all-time top scorer with 38 goals), Baghdad Bounedjah,
Youcef Belaili and Yacine Brahimi.
Rais M’boli (GK)
Youcef Atal, Ramy Bensabaini, Aissa Mandi,
Abdelkader Bedrane (DF)
Ismael Bennacer, Ramiz Zerrouki (CM)
Riyad Mahrez, Baghdad Bounedjah, Youcef Belaili (AM)
Islam Slimani (ST)