The Greens face the Angolan national team in the opening of the fourth group matches, drawing up the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals scheduled to be held in Ivory Coast.
The Al Salam Stadium in Bouaké will host the match on January 15th.
The Desert Warriors faced their counterparts from Angola for the last time in 2010, on the occasion of the same country hosting the African Cup of Nations finals.
Coach Rabah Saadane’s squad at the time failed to reach the goal of the Angolan national team, so the match ended in a goalless draw.
The draw placed the Greens in the first group, along with the host country, Mali and Malawi.
Madjid Bougherra’s teammates then qualified to reach the semi-finals of the tournament, before falling 4-0 against the defending champion Egyptian team.
The Algerian and Angolan teams met nine times before, with the Greens prevailing in two matches, while the rival won in one match, and the draw was decided as a result of the remaining six matches.
The meeting will be renewed this time after 13 years, as the data indicate the advantage of the national team, the first candidate to snatch the lead position in Group Four.
Difficult qualification for the tournament
The Angolan national team has been led by Portuguese coach Pedro Gonsalves (47 years old), and this has been for four years.
The technical director succeeded in leading the team to return to the “Cannes” championship, after missing the last edition in Cameroon.
This is not the first time that the “Gazelle” team has been absent from the continental competition, as their participation was limited to eight occasions.
The Angolans won the second qualifying seat for Cannes, Ivory Coast, from the fifth group, which included the teams of Ghana, the Central African Republic and Madagascar.
The team was only defeated in the qualifiers by leaders Ghana, scoring nine full points in six matches.
His offensive line scored six goals, while his defense conceded five more.
Modest results in 2023
The Angolan national team is ranked 117th in the world, according to the November rankings issued by FIFA.
Coach Gonsalves’ squad was content with achieving one win in the nine matches it played throughout the current year.
The team began its campaign in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, with a draw against each of the Cape Verde Islands in the first round away from home, and then against the Mauritius Islands also away from home in the second match.
The attacking line was the weak point of the Angolan team, as recent statistics indicate its inability to reach the opponents’ net in five out of six matches it played during the second half of this year.
The star offensive lineman rebels
Coach Pedro Gonçalves ended early the process of selecting the players scheduled to participate in the Africa Cup of Nations finals, making Angola the first team to set its final roster less than a month before the start of the tournament.
Gonsalves preferred to shorten the path, calling up 23 players instead of 27 as approved by the CAF regulations, which gave the participating teams four additional names, leaving them the option of registering them or not.
The list witnessed the appearance of the name of one of the most prominent Angolan professional stars in European leagues, Mbala Nzoula, the striker of the Italian club Fiorentina.
The latter, according to media reports, refused to represent his country in the African Cup of Nations and wanted to remain within the ranks of his club.
If confirmed, this exit will be a painful blow for the Greens’ rival, especially since coach Gonsalves had previously abandoned another striker, the experienced Helder Costa, who has been out of the competition for a while due to the termination of his contract with the English club Leeds United.
🚨Mbala Nzola refuses to play CAN to concentrate on Fiorentina. pic.twitter.com/TCWeDpRn3p
— PALANCAS NEGRAS 🇦🇴 (@_PalancasNegras) December 20, 2023
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