Algeria Favorites to Win 2015 AFCON Title

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In short
Although Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Senegal could be the other teams to watch, Algeria have built a strong and consistent team over the past four years and the maturity they showed at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and during the Afcon qualifiers is reason to rate them highly.

The Desert Warriors of Algeria remain the tournament favorites as the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) takes center stage starting January 17 to February 8 in Equatorial Guinea.

Although Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Senegal could be the other teams to watch, Algeria have built a strong and consistent team over the past four years and the maturity they showed at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and during the Afcon qualifiers is reason to rate them highly.

Handled by a new coach Christian Gourcuff, Algeria will face a challenge to first qualify out of Group C that has South Africa, Senegal and the Black Stars of Ghana.

But going by their performance at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where they scored seven goals and conceded a similar number before losing to eventual champions Germany at the knock out stage, they have what it takes to win the Afcon trophy.

After the Afcon draws were made late last year, Algeria's coach Gourcuff said since they are in a balanced group, they will need to eliminate the best teams to prove their superiority.

But with the experienced duo of Club Africain's Abdelmoumene and Sporting Lisbon's Islam Slimani who scored two goals a piece at the World Cup together with FC Porto's Yacine Brahimi, the Algerian team is in firm position to perform well in Equatorial Guinea.

After conceding several goals at the World Cup, the Desert Warriors ensured that they conceded only four goals in the Afcon qualifiers and netted 11 as they lost only one game to Mali. They are currently the best African ranked team in the world at number 18.

Algeria's squad for Afcon includes among others goalkeepers AzzedineDoukha, Raïs M'Bolhi, defenders Essaïd Belkalem and Madjid Bougherra. The coach will have the likes of England Premier League based duo of Mehdi Abeid (Newcastle United FC) and Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham Hotspur FC) to play a big role as well.