The anticipation is high as Algeria and Angola prepare to embark on their quest for continental glory in the Africa Cup of Nations. Monday’s Group D opener at the Stade de la Paix promises to be a captivating showdown between the North African powerhouse, Algeria, and the determined Palancas Negras of Angola, scheduled for 8 pm.
Algeria, on a mission to secure their third AFCON title, enters the tournament with an impressive qualification record, marking their sixth consecutive appearance. Currently ranked 30th in the world, the Desert Warriors aim to overcome the disappointment of their 2021 campaign, where they stumbled in the group stage during their title defense.
Djamel Belmadi’s squad, triumphant in 2019, seeks another triumph to add to their collection of AFCON titles, having claimed victory in 1990 and 2019. Unbeaten in their last 13 outings, including a commanding 4-0 win over Burundi in their final warm-up, Algeria is poised for a strong start in Group D.
Monday’s clash pits Algeria against Angola, a team grappling with a challenging record, having been winless in eight of their last nine matches since March 1985. Their last encounter in the 2010 AFCON ended in a goalless draw.
Angola, making their ninth AFCON appearance, returns to the continental stage after missing the last two editions. Under the guidance of coach Pedro Goncalves, they aim to progress to the knockout stages, a feat last achieved in 2010.
Pedro Goncalves, with prior coaching experience in Angola’s youth setups, watched his team secure a confidence-boosting 3-0 victory over Bahrain in their final warm-up friendly. The win sets a positive tone as Angola faces the formidable challenge of contending with Burkina Faso and two-time African champions Algeria and Mauritania in Group D.
Despite the tough group dynamics, Angola brings an unbeaten streak of five opening games into Monday’s clash, including one win and four draws. Their resilience has been evident, with their last opening-day defeat dating back to 2006 against Cameroon.
As the Stade de la Paix becomes the battleground for this Group D clash, both Algeria and Angola carry the hopes and dreams of their nations. The opening encounter of AFCON 2023 promises to be a thrilling spectacle, with both teams determined to make a significant mark in the tournament. Football enthusiasts can expect a captivating display of skill, determination, and the unyielding spirit of competition as these teams kick off their campaign for continental supremacy.