WHILE last week’s clearing of the giant National Sports Stadium by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to hold the 2021 Afcon qualifier between the Warriors and Algeria next month was a welcome development for the country, what should send shivers down the spines of soccer loving Zimbabweans is that the Desert Foxes have gone on a massive 20-game unbeaten run.
Algeria’s latest breathtaking performance was their two-all draw against highly rated Concacaf Gold Cup holders Mexico while the Warriors were held to a nil all draw by the Flames of Malawi.
It was an unconvincing performance for Zimbabwe.
The Warriors had the services of Marvelous Nakamba, Teenage Hadebe and stand-in captain Khama Billiat but still failed to find the back of the net and that should be a cause for concern for coach Zdravko Logarusic and his assistants as their charges will take on red-hot reigning African champions who despite finishing their game against
Mexico one-man short went on to post a positive result.
Former Warriors coach Joey Antipas has so much respect for Algeria but believes Loga’s boys can match them pound for pound.
“Firstly, the Algerian squad has been together for some time. I must say it is their golden generation, players are almost of the same age. They are on fire and their two all draw was a very good result. The 20-game unbeaten run speaks volumes about their potential.”
He added: “However, that was a friendly match and the squad that we took to Malawi was not the best team. We can match Algeria and history has it that we always do well against them. If we do happen to come up with our best squad, we can match Algeria man for man. The only challenge that we have is that coach Loga doesn’t know his next team due to the coronavirus. Hopefully, we will rise to the occasion.”
In their friendly tie against Mexico, Algeria’s Adlene Guedioura was reportedly handed his matching orders 10 minutes after the break after a second yellow card. Algeria had come from a goal down after Jesus Manuel Corona had given the Mexicans a 43rd minute lead.
The African champions however, drew level two minutes later when midfielder Ismael Bennacer struck a low shot from the edge of the box after being set up by Sofiane Feghouli.
After Guedioura’s red card, Algeria reportedly did not look back as they kept their attacking game and were rewarded in the 66th minute through captain Riyad Mahrez who was set up by Ramy Bensebaini.
However, Algeria saw victory snatched from them when the Mexicans drew level four minutes from the final whistle through Diego Lainez off a Raul Jimenez pass.