VIRTUALLY all the pre-2017 Africa Cup of Nations talk about Group B has concerned which two countries from Algeria, Senegal and Tunisia will advance to the quarter-finals.
Zimbabwe, who complete the quartet based in southeastern Gabonese city Franceville, have been dismissed as no-hopers in a section featuring three of the top five ranked African teams.
The Senegalese headed the monthly FIFA listings released this week with the Tunisians fourth, the Algerians fifth, and the Zimbabweans a distant 30th.
Recently appointed Algeria coach Georges Leekens has warned, however, that his ‘Desert Foxes’ dare not underestimate the ‘Warriors’, the lone qualifiers from southern Africa.
Algeria confront Zimbabwe Sunday in the first half of a double-header at the 20,000-seat Stade de Franceville, followed by Senegal against Tunisia.
“All the Algerian media and public are talking about is Senegal and Tunisia,” acknowledged experienced Belgium-born Leekens, “but I am thinking only of Zimbabwe.
“I know they had some pre-tournament problems regarding bonuses, but the Cup of Nations history is littered with teams who have defied off-field problems to succeed.
“Zimbabwe travelled to Cameroon this week and drew 1-1 in a warm-up match — that was an impressive result against a country that have been African champions four times.
“I view our game against them as a tough challenge. We need to apply our minds 100 percent to how we are going to conquer Zimbabwe.”