Algeria’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on Sunday the 15th of January against Zimbabwe. The Group B encounter will take place in Franceville at 4pm (UK time)/5pm (Algeria time). The referee is Bamlak Weyesa who is from Ethiopia.
The two teams met in the group stage at the 2004 AFCON, in which Zimbabwe won the game 2-1 so Algeria will have to treat them with respect. Group B will also see the Desert Foxes take on Tunisia and Senegal later on in the month.
There have been question marks over the Algerian defence, who will have to keep their eye on Zimbabwean star Knowledge Musona. Paradou product Rami Bensebaini is expected to make his first competitive start for the national team. Zimbabwe are ranked 103rd in the FIFA World Rankings.
Algeria go into the tournament looking for their first piece of silverware in 27 years, since they lifted this famous trophy in 1990 on home soil. They are many people’s favourites to win the 2017 competition. Aissa Mandi will captain the team, with Brahimi the vice.
Belgian manager Georges Leekens is expected to name the following line-up: Rais M’Bolhi – Mokhtar Belkhiter, Aissa Mandi, Rami Bensebaini, Faouzi Ghoulam – Mehdi Abeid, Nabil Bentaleb – Riyad Mahrez, Yacine Brahimi, Hilal Soudani – Islam Slimani.