AFCON 2023: Ivory Coast Team Are Beatable, Says Algeria Coach Belmadi

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The 2024 tournament, which begins on Saturday, will feature Ivory Coast as the host team. This is according to Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi, who won the Africa Cup of Nations.

Only 11 of the previous 33 AFCONs have been won by the home team, demonstrating how difficult it has been for host nations to convert home advantage into success.

However, after victories in 1992 and 2015, 2019 winning coach Belmadi thinks the Ivorian Elephants can go all the way and win the premier African football competition a third time.

“With a very strong squad, hosts and two-time champions Ivory Coast are the team to beat at this tournament,” he informed reporters.

Belmadi dismissed ideas that Algeria might pose a serious threat as well, stating, “We are not among the favorites.”

The 47-year-old coach, who was born in France, led the Desert Foxes to victory over Senegal in the 2019 championship game; however, two years prior, they were unexpectedly eliminated in the first round while defending the title.

Here, AFP Sport presents the opinions of ten of the twenty-four coaches vying for victory in a competition that culminates on February 11 with the championship match in Abidjan.

Collin Benjamin (Namibia)

“My team are fit, aggressive and set out in every match to make things as difficult as possible for opponents.

“Our first goal is obvious — to become the first team from Namibia to win a match at the Cup of Nations after nine failed attempts.”

Djamel Belmadi (Algeria)

“(Apart from the Ivory Coast) Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia are other strong contenders. As for Algeria, we are not among the favourites.

“We are reminded of our elimination after the first round of the last edition, followed by our failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.”