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Algeria coach Madjid Bougherra says he wants to make his compatriots happy by winning the 2022 TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) title on Saturday when they meet Senegal in the final.

The host nation will take on the Teranga Lions at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers in the final of the competition designed exclusively for home-based players.

The Desert Foxes are highly confident of their chances after hammering Niger 5-0 in the semi-final in Oran on Tuesday while Senegal laboured to defeat Madagascar 1-0 in the other last four game.

Algeria wlll have the backing of the home crowd as they seek to win their first title of the competition that started in 2009 and coach Bougherra says he will dedicate the title to the entire country if they manage to win the game.

“Thank God, we reached the final. That was our first goal from the start. We will try to win it. We want to win the game in 90 minutes,” Bougherra said at the pre-match press conference on Friday.

“There are only 90 minutes left to kiss the trophy. Nothing compares to when our people rejoice. We have regained our physical fitness and rested after the semi-final match.

The Desert Foxes registered four 1-0 wins in Algiers before traveling to Oran where they made light work of Niger, a result Bougherra admitted was enough to take the pressure off his team and instead give them the confidence that they needed to win the final.

“The match will be difficult for the two teams. We played against Senegal in a friendly match. They are a good team that deserves to reach the final with all due respect to all other teams. Therefore, the match will be difficult and strong, and each matchup has its own specifications,” he explained in detail.

Bougherra, who captained the Algeria senior national team at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, is one game away from winning his second international title in 13 months with the Desert Foxes after their FIFA Arab Cup triumph.

Thanks to official and friendly matches played before their country hosted the CHAN, the former defender says along with his team, they know the playing style of the Teranga Lions.

“We certainly know Senegal well, and they know us well. They conceded one goal in the tournament, and we know what we will do. This match will be different. We worked for a year and a half and all that work will be evaluated in one match. I told the players this meeting is crucial, and you must sacrifice for your country,” the former international said.

Commonly known as “Magic” in Algeria, Bougherra said that his players understand the task ahead of the final against Senegal which is a repeat of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt that was won by Algeria 1-0.

“The players are ready and happy to play this final. They are focused and eagerly awaiting this match. They are impatient and just want to enter the field. They are determined to win against Senegal. The final will be played on small details, and we have the luck that we will be one of them, and that will be a beautiful thing for Africa.

“We will play collectively, defensively and offensively, as usual, and this is important and makes the team strong. It is one of the keys to victory.

“We previously won the Arab Cup, and we witnessed great joy. When our people rejoice, there is no price for that. For the players we have to make the people happy. That would be an indescribable, exceptional thing.”

Bougherra spoke about the basic elements that will be key in the match especially about the goalkeeper position:

He said, “There are big problems regarding the starting line-up. For example, Alexis Guendouz started the tournament well, and Farid Chaal continued to play well after him. The most important thing is that we are in the national team and we play for the flag.”

Guendouz, who kept three straight clean sheets and did not concede until he was sent off in the 20th minute of their quarter-final game against Côte d”Ivoire, was replaced by Chaal who has since played 160 minutes and maintained the tournament record of not conceding a goal so far heading into the final.

“We must make the people happy. The goalkeepers are in solidarity with each other in training. We shall make the choice today whether it is Guendouz or Chaal, they should be proud. As for the other players, we have 28 players, and so far, 26 of them have participated in the matches. Only Haithem Loucif and Chamsedine Rahmani have not yet played any minutes in the tournament,” Bougherra explained to the media.

Bougherra stressed the need for Algeria to be crowned as CHAN” title, “We remember only the winner. Football is difficult, you always play hard, and one match can make you happy or demolish your spirits. In our head, there are no calculations.

“We will play the final to win only. We have to sacrifice in the field. During the Arab Cup final in Qatar, we said that this is a great experience that we gained. This final will be different and good for us because the fans will be more than it was in Qatar, and they will push us for the best. For me, this final is the best final of the Arab Cup.”

Bougherra revealed that the Desert Foxes want to win the CHAN title and dedicate it to former Algerian international Bilal Ben Hammoud who passed away last year.

“We will never forget Bilal bin Hamouda, and we want to win this game for him.”

Algeria striker Soufiane Bayazid who accompanied Bougherra said that, “The final match against Senegal will be strong and we have prepared ourselves well for it. The pressure will be there as long as we wear the national team jersey, but we are playing in front of our fans. That will give us more motivation.

“God willing, we will be psychologically ready. We will go into the game stronger. We faced Senegal in a friendly match. They play well and we also have a good team collectively and individually and whoever focuses more and better on the field will win.”

Bayazid netted the fifth goal for Algeria against Niger in the semi-final and wants to replicate this performance against Senegal alongside with his teammates.

Algeria striker Soufiane Bayazid who accompanied Bougherra said that, “The final match against Senegal will be strong and we have prepared ourselves well for it. The pressure will be there as long as we wear the national team jersey, but we are playing in front of our fans. That will give us more motivation.

“God willing, we will be psychologically ready. We will go into the game stronger. We faced Senegal in a friendly match. They play well and we also have a good team collectively and individually and whoever focuses more and better on the field will win.”

Bayazid netted the fifth goal for Algeria against Niger in the semi-final and wants to replicate this performance against Senegal alongside with his teammates.

Source: CAF

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