The Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers could not have started in much better fashion for Algeria after they managed a 4-0 win over minnows Seychelles in their first match of the stages.
Algeria are in a group containing the likes of Ethiopia and Lesotho. The 1990 champions are seen as overwhelming favourites to progress. However, last season’s disappointment has made manager Christian Gourcuff be extremely cautious about his team line-ups. There was no experimentation from the French manager, as been named his strongest starting line-up. Even this was hindered by a couple of injury problems to the likes of Sofiane Feghouli, Yacine Brahimi, and Mehdi Lacen.
It did not take long for Algeria to show their superiority in the match. Islam Slimani opened the scoring for the surprising team from Africa at the World Cup 2014. It took just 22 minutes for Algeria to break the deadlock. From then on, it was complete domination from the home team. El Arbi Soudani came up with a brace. Each of his goals came from either half andSeychelles appeared to have no response. The icing on the cake, though, came from Tottenham’s Nabil Bentaleb. He scored in the injury time of the game to almost make it certain that Algeria progress to the competition.
Reaching the Africa Cup of Nations 2017 will not be seen as a major achievement by the national team. After all, they are going to enter into this tournament as one of the favourites. The key aspect for Algeria will be to live up to the expectations created after a fantastic World Cup and sustain it going forward. The team will not be involved in any other distractions apart from the Cup of Nations qualifiers. This should be a boon for Gourcuff, who can experiment with the team once qualification is done.