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Preview: Algeria vs. Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is making their return to the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday, their first appearance at Africa’s showcase tournament since 1996. The Leone Stars have been given the most difficult possible matchup to start their campaign as they take on defending AFCON champions Algeria. Algeria’s Fennec Foxes are currently on the longest undefeated streak in the history of Africa’s national teams, confirming their status as the top team with a 2021 FIFA Arab Cup conquest last month.

The good news for Algeria is that there were no positive Covid-19 tests with defender Remy Bensebaini the only player who may be out due to a cold. However, there are players who tested positive while in the team’s pre-tournament camp in Qatar with Arab Cup heroes Youcef Belaïli and defender Mohamed Tougaï among the five names missing out on Tuesday’s action. In pre-match comments, the Fennecs are taking an approach that is strictly business. Star playmaker Riyad Mahrez acknowledged that the 2021 AFCON will be more difficult to navigate due to the high expectations and quality of the teams while manager Djamel Belmadi took some of his players to task for complaining about the luxuries of the accommodation by stating the team was not here for purposes of tourism.

On the other hand, Sierra Leone are not trying to place any expectations on themselves and instead are concentrating on making their supporters proud by leaving it all on the pitch for the West African nation in Cameroon. The squad contains an interesting mix of young players who play domestically as well as multiple players based abroad. Queens Park Rangers right back Osman Kakay and Swedish-based left back Kevin Wright give the team fullbacks who can get up and down the flanks while Turkish-based center back Steven Caulker has completed his international switch of allegiances to bring a veteran physical presence.

See what all the players and coaches are saying ahead of the match in the links below as a true David vs. Goliath matchup awaits to start of Tuesday’s action in Cameroon.

EN: Tests PCR négatifs pour nos Fennecs (La Gazette du Fennec)

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