AFCON Group B: Riyad Mahrez can help Algeria secure Leicester-style success in Gabon
Algeria and Senegal are set to battle it out for top spot in Group B when the African Cup of Nations gets underway on Saturday.
According to the latest FIFA rankings, Group B possesses three of Africa’s top five countries, as well as Zimbabwe who have little chance of progressing.
They’re an outside shot at 21.00 with Sportsbet.io to win the group, but they will need a small miracle to even secure points, let along excel.
The Senegal squad have been well backed and are now favourites to top the pile at 2.25 — but one look at their squad and it’s clear why they’re popular.
Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, Fenerbahce striker Moussa Sow, and West Ham’s Cheikhou Kouyate have all traveled.
Senegal are one of the favourites to go all the way, however, their opponents Tunisia are certain to provide them with a stern test when they meet.
Much of the country’s hopes rest with Sunderland’s Wahib Khazri, who remains an integral player despite a lack of game time for Sunderland .
If Khazri can find his best form, and Tunisia can maintain their strong defensive record of the past few months, they could cause a shock.
Elsewhere in the group, no one quite knows how Algeria will perform after months and months of chopping and changing.
The current squad forced the previous manager to resign, and they head to the tournament in poor form, with one point from six in WC Qualifying.
However, their current squad, which contains newly-crowned African Football of the Year Riyad Mahrez, is arguably the best in the competition.
Other notable names include Mahrez’s club team-mate Islam Slimani who has done well in the Premier League, and Porto’s Yacine Brahimi.
I really like the unpredictable nature of this Algerian side and this is a perfect opportunity for Mahrez to showcase his talents.