Excitement emanated from all of the Algerian professional staff following their 3-1 win over Gabon in the Africa Nations Cup.
The beaming head coach, Nasir Sangaq, agreed to speak to the press after the match. The following interview was published in al-Khabar:
Q: Following this win, can we say that we almost secured a place in the quarterfinals?
A: The lads played very well against Gabon. All players showed they can overcome internal problems. You also felt the pressure before this game. Frankly, I think the players showed their high technical and physical skills. I hope we will continue in this course. We did not qualify yet. It all depends on the last game against South Africa.
Q: Significant improvement was observed between the first game and the second one against Gabon. How do you explain this?
A: We convinced the players to take responsibility and to raise their spirits. Before the first whistle against Gabon you could also feel the improved spirit between the players. I believe they understood they were playing for the entire Algerian people and not for their individual interests. Algeria can boast a strong team but we still need work.
Q: Do you think Gabon lost the game in the first half?
A: The game had a very quick pace and we succeeded in our game plan, i.e. pressure them whenever they held the ball. We enjoy higher endurance. Still I was sad we conceded a goal in the stoppage time. This means we still have to be more concentrated.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )