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Avoiding Egypt in Africa World Cup playoff, Algeria sighs with relief

Algeria are paired with Burkina Faso in the African World Cup qualifiers playoff

Eslam Omar, Monday 16 Sep 2013
Mohamed Raouraoua
Algeria Football Association chairman Mohamed Raouraoua (Photo: Reuters)

Paired with Burkina Faso, Algeria Football Federation Chairman Mohamed Raouraoua was euphoric about avoiding Arab opponents in the African World Cup qualifiers playoff. The draw was held at the Confederation of African Football (CAF)'s Cairo headquarters Monday.

"All teams are tough and have the opportunity to qualify. We did not want to meet our Egyptian brothers, and that was granted. Thank God," Raouraoua sighed.

Algeria's last World Cup qualifiers play-off was against Egypt in 2009, in which the pair drew on aggregate and had to play a decider at a neutral venue in Sudan. Algeria claimed the ticket after a 1-0 victory leaving tension between the two Arab countries, which began on the field and grew into clashes between spectators and even reached wider political problems.

"We are well-prepared and, after the 2010 tournament, many new faces joined the team -- all really talented and skilled, playing in big teams locally and all over the world," he added.

The Foxes captain, Madjid Bougherra, echoed Raouraoua expressing pleasure for the draw result.

"I am happy that we are playing Burkina Faso not Egypt again. It is good that the second leg will be at home" the 30-year-old Center Back told the Algerian Radio after the draw Monday.

However, Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic thinks that the two teams have equal opportunities.

"I warn players not to be over-confident or arrogant especially as most of our team members are young and don't have enough experience." the Greens' Bosnian Halilhodzic said.

On the other side, Burkina Faso coach Paul Put insisted that nothing is impossible in football, expressing respect to Algeria but showing confidence at the same time.

"Everything is possible in football. Burkina Faso have a good opportunity to qualify for the World Cup. We will prepare for Algeria well, especially as the first match will be at home and between our supporters," Belgian Put said.

Burkina Faso never made it to the most prestigious tournament while the North African Algeria are bidding for their fourth appearance as they participated in 1982, 1986 and 2010.

Draw results:
Ivory Coast VS Senegal
Ethiopian VS Nigeria
Tunisia VS Cameroon
Ghana VS Egypt
Burkina Faso VS Algeria

The first legs of the playoff matches will be played between 11 and 15 October, with the second legs between 15 and 19 November.

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