Algeria to face Mauritania in friendlies ahead of Gabon 2017

Algeria team
Algeria team

Algeria will step up their preparations for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations with two international friendly fixtures against Mauritania in Blida in January.

The 1990 African champions are to play Les Mourabitones in back-to-back fixtures at home on 7 January and three days later, according to the Mauritanian Football Federation (FFRIM).

Georges Leekens will use the matches to get his struggling Desert Foxes into shape before their opening Nations Cup game against Zimbabwe on 15 January.

Algeria are bottom of their African 2018 World Cup qualifying group after a disappointing home draw against Cameroon and defeat to Group B leaders Nigeria.

Leekens is the third Algeria coach this year after Serbia's Rajevac replaced Frenchman Christian Gourcuff, who surprisingly stepped down in April with two years left on his contract.

The 67-year-old suffered a 3-1 loss in his first game in charge against Nigeria in a 2018 World Cup qualifier - Algeria's first competitive defeat since the 2015 Nations Cup.

Algeria, currently ranked third in Africa after a long spell in first place, have been drawn in Group B in Gabon where they will face Senegal, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

Tipped as one of the pre-tournament favourites, the Deserts Foxes exited the last tournament in Equatorial Guinea at the quarter-final stage.

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