The two-time champions Algeria begins their AFCON journey with a tough match up against Angola. The Desert Warriors have faced the Angolans on three occasions and have failed to come away victorious on every meeting, leaving the stage set for a highly anticipated grudge match.

To win (90 min)
Algeria 4/10
Draw 26/10
Angola 13/2


Algeria come into this prestigious tournament making their 21st appearance with the first coming way back in 1968. The Desert Warriors will be determined to go all the way as they search for their third AFRICAN crown after winning it twice, first in 1990 and most recently in 2019.

Coach Djamel Belmadi has put together a very strong team and look well equipped to face the toughest challengers. Most of the squad plays in Europe for some of the best teams and have huge experience especially playing on the big stage. Having dropped out of the last tournament in Group Stages will not only drive but also motivate the Algerians to prove they are worthy of conquering Africa. Winning AFCON could put the cherry on top for this exceptional Algerian national team.

Al-Ahli superstar and recent treble winner (Manchester City) Riyad Mahrez who is also the captain will have all the fire power at his disposal to go along with his incredible dribbling ability and creativity in the final third. Islam Slimani is the all-time record goal scorer for the Desert Warriors (45) and three games away from breaking the all-time record for most appearances. The veteran centre forward will be extra motivated to contribute and give it his all as this could possibly be his last AFCON finals.


Angola compared to their challengers Algeria are almost considered “rookies” to this prestigious tournament as this will be only their ninth appearance, with the first dating back to 1996. Their best results were reaching the quarterfinals in 2008 and 2010.

Winning the first game is always the most important game as it sets the tone going forward, creates a good environment and winning mentality. Angola may not be the greatest when in possession of the ball but one thing for sure is they will maintain their level of intensity and make the game as physical as possible which will suite their style of play. Identifying the right moments when to attack while being defensively sound will be the approach from coach Pedro Gonçalves.

Kialonda Gaspar, Nurio Fortuna and Eddie Afonso are just a few players who will be called upon to protect the nets and goalkeeper Neblu who to be fair is quite decent between the sticks. Fredy will be chief and commander in midfield looking to provide goal scoring opportunities for Milson who shows a lot of promise.


Football is so unpredictable and can go either way on the day depending on who wants it more, but in this instance, I think Algeria has a far more superior squad and should pick up their first three points of the AFCON finals and their first win against Angola.

Written by Marc Strydom