AFCON 2021: Resilient Sierra Leone hold champions Algeria in tough Group E clash
- Algeria vs Sierra Leone Group E AFCON tie saw the Foxes kick off their title defence on a frustrating note
- The Djamel Belmadi-tutored side was unable to break Sierra Leone's stubborn backline to settle for a barren draw
- They will be desperate to make amends in their subsequent group fixtures against Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast
Sierra Leone have handed reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions, Algeria, a reality check after forcing them to a frustrating 0-0 draw in their Group E curtain-raiser.
Despite their relatively superior squad, the Desert Foxes were unable to penetrate through Sierra Leone's stubborn defence.
Algeria's strong squad featured Man City superstar Riyad Mahrez, Lyon's Islam Slimani, and Yacine Brahimi.
However, all the three fired blanks in their opening pool match staged at Japoma Stadium on Tuesday, January 11, as both teams shared the spoils.
Algeria bested Senegal to lift their first AFCON title since 1990 in Cairo in 2019, and many pundits and fans fancy them to successfully retain that crown.
Sierra Leone, on the other hand, have been on a recruitment drive in Europe and strengthened their squad with the addition of former Liverpool and England defender Steven Caulker.
Their meeting was pretty much entertaining, with Algeria missing a host of chances to put the game to bed.
However, Sierra Leone, who last played in AFCON back in 1996 managed to put up a brave performance to secure a vital point.
Algeria will be desperate to make amends in their subsequent group fixtures against Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast.
Kenyan referees officiate AFCON clash
Earlier, Sports Brief reported despite Kenya missing out on a slot in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon, the country does have two representatives in the competition.
Experienced referees Peter Waweru and Gilbert Cheruiyot are among more than 60 match officials selected by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to officiate the 33rd edition of the continental showpiece.
The two made their first appearance in the competition on Monday, January 10, when they took charge of a Group C fixture pitting Comoros vs Gabon Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde-Cameroon.
Waweru, who also doubles up as a Pure and Applied Mathematics lecturer at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology was the centre referee during the clash, with Cheruiyot assisting him.