- Champions: Algeria
- 1st Runners up: Senegal
- 2nd Runners up: Nigeria
- 3rd Runners up: Tunisia
Algeria clinched their second Africa Cup of Nations title in history on Friday, 19th July 2019 at the Cairo International Stadium, Egypt.
This was after beating West Africans Senegal 1-0 in a well contested finale watched by CAF President Ahmad Ahmad, FIFA boss Gianni Infantino, Algerian president Abdelkader Bensalah and the Egypt Prime minister Mostafa Madbouly, among other special dignitaries.
Al Sadd Sports Club striker Baghdad Bounedjah was the hero with a first minute deflected shot over the goalkeeper Alfred Gomis as the Fennecs smiled on the podium with another AFCON in their coffers, the first time since 1990.
It was good news for their head coach, Djamel Belmadi, a former player for the national team who became the 12th local coach to win the AFCON trophy.
This brings the number of Afcon trophies won by local coaches to 16.
The rich list also has Mourad Fahmy (Egypt – 1959), Yidnekatchew Tessema (Ethiopia – 1962), Charles Gyamfi (Ghana – 1963, 1965 and 1982), Adolphe Bibanzoulo (Congo – 1972), Fred Osam-Duodu (Ghana – 1978), Abdelhamid Kermali (Algeria – 1990), Yeo Martial (Cote d’Ivoire – 1992), Clive Barker (South Africa – 1996) and lately Mahmoud El Gohary (Egypt – 1998)
Right from the word go, The Desert Foxes were a determined side.
They won the championship unbeaten with just a draw in the quarter finals against Cote D’Ivoire, before winning the tense shoot out.
Algeria easily navigated through group C with victories against Kenya (2-0), Senegal (1-0) and Tanzania (3-0).
At the round of 16, they whipped then Paul Put’s coached Guinea 3-0 in a one sided affair before triumphing 4-3 in a tense shoot out over Cote D’Ivoire in the quarter finals.
Normal time had ended one goal apiece.
Come semi-finals, Algeria needed a moment of brilliance from their skipper Riyad Karim Mahrez.
The Manchester City playmaker curled home a decent free-kick in the very last minute of the semi-final duel to win 2-1 and book a final slot, the first time since 1990 when they hosted and won on home soil.
The final game was decided as early as the first 50 seconds when Bounedjah’s shot was deflected into the net for the decisive and most important strike.
Algeria deserved to win given the focus, determination, teamwork effort as well as the outstanding individual players as Mahrez, Bounedjah, Ismael Bennacer, Mohamed Youcef Balaili and the Al-Ettifaq goalkeeper Adi Rais Cobos Mbolhi.
For a country that returned to the famous “drawing board” to lay strategies and build structures after years of dullness, it is not surprising therefore that they return to the podium of Africa’s premium football competition.
Little wonder, therefore, it will not be surprising to witness the $ 4.5M price money being re-channeled to further front the interests of the game through grassroot development programmes in a bid to ensure continuity.
Algeria Winning Team:
Adi Rais Cobos Mbolhi (G.K), Aissa Mandi, Djamel Eddine Benlamri, Riyad Karim Mahrez (Captain), Mohamed Youcef Balaili, Baghdad Bounedjah, Sofiane Feghouli, Adlane Guedioura, Mehdi Embareck Zeffane, Amir Selmane Rami Bensebanini, Ismael Bennacer, Izzeddine Doukha (G.K), Mehdi Jean, Rafik Halliche, Mohamed Fares, Yacine Nasr Eddine Brahimi, Adam Mohamed Ounas, Islam Slimani, Hicham Boudaoui, Andy Delort, Alexandre Roger Oukidja, Mehdi Abeid, Youcef Atal
Head coach: Djamel Belmadi (Algeria)
Algeria’s matches at AFCON 2019:
- Algeria 2-0 Kenya (Group Stage)
- Senegal 0-1 Algeria (Group Stage)
- Tanzania 0-3 Algeria (Group Stage)
- Algeria 3-0 Guinea (Round of 16)
- Cote D’Ivoire 1 (3) – 1 (4) Algeria (Quarter final)
- Algeria 2-1 Nigeria (Semi-final)
- Senegal 0-1 Algeria (Final)