Afcon 2019: Algeria have best attack and second best defence – Belmadi

The Desert Foxes boss stated his team’s readiness to challenge for the continental title at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday

Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi is bullish about his team’s attacking and defensive qualities ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final clash against Senegal.

The North African country have scored 12 goals so far in Egypt, four more than the Teranga Lions, with nine of their players involved in at least one goal.

They have also shown their quality in the defence, conceding just two goals in Egypt [against Ivory Coast and Nigeria], one less than Aliou Cisse’s side.

In the battle for the best team in Africa, Friday's contest in Cairo will reunite childhood friends Cisse and Belmadi, who played football together as boys in Paris decades ago.

“I haven't spoken to Aliou Cisse but we will talk after the game. It's ironic that the two kids who grew up together are now facing in the final,” Belmadi said in his pre-match conference, per Caf website.

“We used to play together as young boys in Paris. Now we are coaches for our national teams. Fate brought us to this final.

“Being passionate doesn't deny you from thinking well. Matches like that need both.”

Belmadi admitted Algeria have an improved squad from the selection which represented the country at the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.

“Many changes happened between 2014 and 2019. Yes, some players were in the World Cup then but I think it's much different,” he continued.

“We have the best attack, second best defence and win convincingly. It's not me to say if we deserve the title or not, the results say. We are not tired, but 100% ready."

On Sunday, five people were reportedly killed and 13 injured in Algeria as fans celebrated the country's qualification for their first Afcon final since 1990, after defeating Nigeria 2-1.

In his reaction to the incident, the 43-year-old coach called for ‘responsible’ celebrations from Algerians around the world on Friday.

“I ask our supporters to celebrate in a responsible way. We are sad for the news of those who passed away while celebrating,” Belmadi added.

“We are trying to represent our country in a responsible way and we have to respect the country we are in.”