Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi has fired a warning to his side’s opponents in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
The North Africans failed to progress past the group stage in the last edition of the tournament in Gabon but are hopeful of a better performance in this year’s edition.
The Desert Foxes have been zoned along with 2002 runners-up Senegal,Kenya and Tanzania in Group C.
The former Algeria international acknowledged that the Terenga Lions are a major contender for the Afcon title.
“Our goal at first is to go beyond the first round and then fight on until the final because we are not going to Egypt to add to the numbers,” Belmadi told the Caf website.
“It will be necessary to fight for the title like all the big African football nations. It is important to enter the competition, acquire the necessary confidence then to go little by little as far as possible.
“It is a balanced group even if we will face the biggest challenge in Senegal, who are also one of the favourites.
“For Kenya and Tanzania, even though these two countries have not played in the Afcon for several years, they still remain opponents, against whom it will be necessary to play good matches and win. We will study the teams of the group well and prepare to be at our best on the day.
“It will be more open for all qualified teams especially that all the teams will have their say as we have seen during the qualifiers. Nothing will be easy in this competition, because currently there are no more small teams. There is a great chance to go past the group stage but the competition will be harder from the quarter-finals.”
Algeria drew 1-1 against Burundi before securing a 3-2 win over Mali in their last preparatory game on Sunday.