By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (April 29th 2023)
A Skipper’s Lead
Algeria opened their Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Algiers’ Nelson Mandela Stadium with a comfortable 2-0 win over debutants Somalia. The hosts will face stiffer tests than this. Any nerves that Arezki Remmane’s young charges may have felt was dispelled when skipper, Moslen Anatouf, the Player of the Match, scored the first goal of the 14th Under-17 AFCON by rounding the last defender and Somalia’s keeper Abdikadir Mohamed on the left of the area to tap into an empty net.
With added time approaching the same players were involved in a somewhat unsavoury incident as Anatouf went down in the box – and was canny enough to roll around but stay on the pitch. Mohamed pulled him off the pitch, but he rolled back on. Gabonese referee, Tanguy Mebiane, was unimpressed. Anatouf angrily got up and continued. Minutes later he found space in the box and unleashed a fierce shot which was parried by Mohamed to his left.
Ten minutes into second half substitute Tarek Hamadi’s corner from right was tapped in at near post by Anatouf to double Algeria’s lead.
Algeria’s coach, Remmane, was satisfied with the result, but thought that his team should have had a penalty. He was sure that a check by VAR would have resulted in his team getting a penalty. Unfortunately, there was no VAR to resolve the issue.
Somalia’s coach, Nur Mohamed Amin, bemoaned the lack of preparation matches, but had a positive attitude. “Tomorrow, we win, Inshallah (God willing),” he said.