2022 African Nations Championship (CHAN) hosts Algeria maintained a perfect record through an easy Group A but the Fennecs will face their first real challenge of the competition with a quarterfinal matchup against Ivory Coast on Friday. The Ivorians waited until their last Group B clash against Uganda to earn a first victory but Les Éléphants Locaux have a capable squad with a mix of experience and youth. Expectations continue to be high for Algeria and they will certainly be substantial favorites.
Algeria coach Madjid Bougherra has kept a serious demeanor throughout the competition and his quarterfinal pre-match press conference was no different. Bougherra praised the Ivorian team’s strength and discipline, saying whoever wins on Friday will be the favorite to win the competition. The Fennecs are prepared for the chance that the match will go to penalty kicks in the event of a draw while Bougherra expressed confidence in his staff’s preparations because they have three Ivorian matches to study and scout from the group stage.
Left back Ayoub Abdellaoui is set to return to the lineup after missing the final Group A clash against Mozambique due to injury. Several other starting players were also rested against Mozambique giving Algeria no issues with fatigue. The Greens will hope that attacking players like Abderrahmane Meziane and Ahmed Kendouci can provide a goal to support striker Aymen Mathious who has scored two of the team’s three CHAN goals.
Ivory Coast is fully embracing the role of underdog in Friday’s matchup and are putting no pressure on themselves. Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) president Yacine Idriss Diallo explained to Ivorian media that the country’s football is focusing on finding young players to consider for the senior national team when the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations is hosted in Ivory Coast next year. Elephants coach Soualiho Haïdara pointed out that Algeria have struggled to finish, a theme he hopes his team can continue.
The Ivorian team struggled in their opening two matches but their win on the final day of Group A against Uganda revealed an improved group. ASEC Mimosas forward Karamoko Sankara showed his abilities with a goal and assist while 17-year-old Patrick Ouotro also contributed an excellent finish. Central midfielder Constant Wayou is another player who is gaining confidence and ASEC goalkeeper Charles Folly also continues to impress.
More on both teams is in the links below.