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Page last updated at 18:56 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009

Bouazza aiming high with Algeria

By Barney Cullum

Algeria and Blackpool's Hameur Bouazza
Blackpool's Hameur Bouazza says Algeria can win the Nations Cup

Blackpool's Hameur Bouazza believes team spirit and attacking football can inspire Algeria to a shock Africa Cup of Nations title in Angola.

The North Africans failed to qualify for the last Nations Cup but confidence is running high following their recent qualification for the 2010 World Cup.

Algeria have been drawn in Group A at the Nations Cup alongside hosts Angola Mali and Malawi.

"We definitely believe we can win the competition," Bouazza told BBC Sport.

"As well as beating Egypt twice, we've done well against big teams like Brazil and Argentina in recent friendlies.

"We are going to be focussing on winning our first game against Malawi because Mali and Angola are both very strong sides," says Bouazza.

"Having said that, I think Malawi will be thinking the same thing.

"I would say Angola are the biggest threat in the group because they will have all the supporters with them. Their players will be targeting going very far in the competition.

"It's going to be a difficult tournament but I really believe we can do something big in Angola."

The manager likes us to pass the ball and we have lots of quick players, which makes us dangerous

Algeria's Hameur Bouazza

He says that coach Rabah Sadaane is proving inspirational.

"The manager encourages us all the time and that is what we needed, as all players need confidence to do well," he explained.

"The manager believes we can do well in the competition and that means the whole squad now believes as well.

"We want to remind a few people that Algeria are still here."

Algeria were among the early standard bearers for African football but have been in the wilderness since hosting and winning the Nations Cup in 1990.

The Desert Foxes have had to watch on in envy as their North African rivals Tunisia (2004) and Egypt (2006 and 2008) have won three consecutive continental titles.

After edging Egypt to the final African spot at the World Cup in South Africa next year, Bouazza insists Algeria are scared of no one as they approach Angola.

"I would love to play Egypt again, to prove that it was not luck that we beat them," he said.

"We won with hard work and because we have lots of talented players.

"Our team's got really good character, our team spirit is probably our greatest strength.

"Teams win games when everyone is happy and that is the case with Algeria."

Saadane is a hero in his home country after leading Algeria to World Cups in 1982 and 1986 as well as South Africa next year.

"It is not all down to the manager," says Bouazza.

"Attractive football comes naturally to Algerians. He has got the best out of us though.

"We have been playing 3-5-2 recently, which suits us.

"The manager likes Nadir Belhadj to bomb forward and gets lots of crosses in, as we have lots of players who are good in the air up front.

"The manager likes us to pass the ball and we have lots of quick players, which makes us dangerous."

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see also
Olofinjana eyes delayed Hull exit
18 Dec 09 |  Hull
Algeria names Nations Cup squad
17 Dec 09 |  African
Algeria end year on a global high
16 Dec 09 |  African
Algeria's Yebda on World Cup draw
06 Dec 09 |  African
Algeria delight in 2010 place
03 Dec 09 |  African
How Algeria qualified for the World Cup
03 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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