CAN 2017 qualifiers: Seychelles succumbs 4-0 to Algeria
File Photo of the Seychelles national football team taken at the Seychelles main stadium, Stad Linite before their departure. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - As expected Seychelles faced a tough test on Saturday evening in its first qualifying match for the 2017 African Cup of Nations (CAN 2017) against Algeria.
The match played at ‘Stade Mustapha Tchaker’ in Blida, Algeria ended 4-0 in favour of the North African team.
While Seychelles is ranked 189th worldwide and 48th in Africa according to the world’s football governing body, FIFA’s ranking, Algeria is at the top spot in Africa and 21st worldwide.
With almost fifty places separating the two sides in terms of African teams ranking and over 150 places separating them in FIFA’s world classification, the task to even trouble the Algerians was next to impossible for the Seychelles side which is still chasing an elusive first participation in Africa’s premier football showpiece.
Algeria’s first win in Group J, saw Islam Slimani break the deadlock after 22 minutes of play, heading home a cross from left-back Faouzi Ghoulam.
It took less than ten minutes for coach Christian Gourcuff's players to double their lead, with Hilal Soudani taking full advantage of a very poor clearance from the Seychelles keeper Vincent Euphrasie.
Soudani also scored the third goal within two minutes after the second half kick-off, while the fourth and final goal was scored by Tottenham midfielder, Nabil Bentaleb in stoppage time.
52 of the 54 member countries of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) have been divided into 13 different group for the CAN 2017 qualifiers. Seychelles has been drawn in group J alongside Algeria, Ethiopia and Lesotho.
With its impressive win on Saturday, Algeria which managed to reach the last 16 stage at the 2014 FIFA World Cup but lost 1-2 against the current World Champion Germany, has confirmed its intention as one of group J’s favourite.
The North African side will surely try to keep their momentum going when they visit Lesotho in the next round of the qualifiers in September while Seychelles, on the other hand, will face another uphill task when they host Ethiopia.
The teams that will qualify for the next African Cup of Nations which will be played in Gabon between the months of January and February 2017 will include the winners of each of the 13 groups.
The two best-placed runners-up in each group will also book a place at the tournament except the group which contains the host country, Gabon, whose matches will be considered friendlies and where only the winner will qualify.
The African Cup of Nations is held every two years. The defending champion is Cote D’Ivoire that won the competition in Equatorial Guinea in February this year.