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All odds against Niger as Ménas venture into the fox den to face African champions Algeria

Algeria are hoping it will be business as usual with the Fennec Foxes on a 29-match unbeaten streak that they hope to extend on Friday when they host Niger in FIFA World Cup qualifying. Despite the African national team record streak, Algeria did not get an ideal result in their previous match against Burkina Faso, allowing Les Étalons to come back and draw to keep Group A interesting. The hosts are tied with Burkina Faso at the top with four points from two games and Niger follow one point back.

Manager Djamel Belmadi might have to do without starting defenders Djamel Benlamri and Ramy Bensebaini for the match, but what had Belmadi in an angry mood this week was striker Andy Delort’s message to the gaffer informing him that he was removing himself from contention for a national team spot to focus on club duties at OGC Nice in France’s Ligue 1. Belmadi admitted that he and the veteran striker had a “heated exchange” and Delort is “no longer selectable” in his eyes going forward. In other comments leading up to the match, Belmadi expressed his respect for Niger and put labelled them as close to the level of Burkina Faso.

Niger is led by manager Jean Michel Cavalli, a veteran coach who has some knowledge of his team’s opponents having previously managed Algeria earlier in his career. Enjoying the challenge of managing Niger, Cavalli stated his emphasis on using young players to aid the national side’s efforts in becoming more capable and also discussed spending time with idol Carlo Ancelotti in an interview with Tribal Football. FIFA has an interview with a member of the Ménas as well, speaking with Ivorian-based midfielder Youssouf Oumarou about how the team is excited to take their shot at ending Algeria’s unbeaten streak as well as the team’s return to playing games at home in the capital Niamey following renovation to their home stadium.

Oumarou making plans for Niger (FIFA)

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