Madjid Bougherra, te head coach of the local Desert Foxes of Algeria has reechoed the impact their fans could have in the crucial TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) clash against the local Elephants of Ivory coast this Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Baraki, Algeria.
Speaking during the traditional pre-match conference the former skipper of the Men’s national team thanked the fans for their impact on his team’s performance so far in the tournament and the enthusiasm going into the quarter-final game.
“I thank the fans who fill the stadiums hours before the match, which only happens in Algeria,” it was reported by the media that the game will be played in a full house, Bougherra confirmed while appreciating; “All tickets are sold out within five hours only. We thank them for the enthusiasm they give to our players especially since we will play on Friday. The fans must motivate the players in a way that is always positive because we represent one nation, and openly work in the field to be at the level,” the 40-year-old continued.
Algeria running after their first CHAN title have had a great start to the seventh edition of the competition reserved for home based players; winning all three group games while their Ivorian opponents progressed from a defeat to Senegal, a draw against DR Congo before edging Uganda 3-1 to reach the last eight for just the second time.
The crucial fixture at the 40k facility in the outskirts of Algiers will pull attention from beyond the two nations as the World pause to watch talents from a pair of Africa’s finest refineries come to the party.
The enthusiasm about the fixture has reached new heights with expectant home fans waiting for this Saturday to fill the stadium to the rafters and push their nation to victory. Though some suggest the huge fans present could constitute some sort of pressure for Bougherra and his team. The gaffer thinks others:
“We are playing in our country and in front of our people. As I said to the players they should play without pressure, and the people should be happy.
“These are difficult matches and they must do better than what they offered previously. Pressure is an integral part of the players’ daily lives and as a coach I’m used to it. Our players have to be positive.
“I felt that our players are more and more focused, comfortable and reassured. I hope that they will deal with the pressure positively to serve their interests. For players in Algeria, when they wet the shirt, it means that there is no pressure.”
The game will be a first quarter-final appearance in the competition for Algeria since 2011 and its at home.
The team has been inspired in part by former Algeria national team captain – and Charlton Athletic and Glasgow Rangers defender – Madjid Bougherra – whose 70 caps for the Desert Foxes won him thousands of fans.
This clash between the Algeria and Côte D’Ivoire will be a meeting one of North Africa’s finest and the West Africans also keen on making a name for themselves.
Côte D’Ivoire finished third in 2016 in Rwanda while Algeria’s best shot was a fourth place finish from the 2011 edition of the tournament in Sudan.
Both nations returned to the tournament after missing the 2018 and 2020 editions in Morocco and Cameroon will be hoping to take advantage of their brilliant collection of players to achieve a little more.
Côte d’Ivoire will face hosts Algeria in the first quarter-final match-up on January 27 at 1600hrs GMT at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Baraki, Algeria.
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