With the Africa Cup of Nations kicking off in Gabon yesterday, we, here at Barakabits, have been feeling the hype of one of our favorite continental football tournaments. With that, we’re going to give you a short story or profile regarding the Arab teams participating in it. First up are the first Arabic team playing, who are referred to by many as the desert foxes of Algeria, and their star man, Riyad Mahrez.
The greatest sporting story of 2016 was not necessarily the Chicago cubs winning the world series. While that comes in second place, it has nothing on the story that ranks first. A story that is made for the pantheon of sporting greatness.
Leicester City winning the Premier League, arguably the greatest footballing achievement, maybe even sporting achievement, of all time! It is the ultimate rags-to-riches story. In fact, everyone on that team has a story like that to tell. For instance, Riyad Mahrez’s story. He went from playing second division football in France to becoming player of the year in England in 2 years!
The hopes of a nation are hung on the recently crowned African player of the year by both CAF and the BBC, and probably rightfully so. What Mahrez did last season for Leicester, at probably the highest level of football in one of the best leagues in the world, is quite simply jaw-dropping. Factor in a country that has last won the title nearly 3 decades ago and gone out in the quarter-finals of the last tournament at the hands (or feet!) of eventual champions the Ivory Coast and what you get is expectations, tons of it. But Mahrez doesn’t have to carry the burden on his own. With fellow Leicesterite Islam Slimani banging the goals, Yacine Brahimi with the through balls, Adlène Guedioura and Nabil Bentaleb anchoring the midfielder, and Neapolitan Faouzi Ghoulam getting the crosses in, they’re a force to be reckoned with!
Stay tuned for more stories from AfCON right here on Barakabits, and don’t forget to leave a smile!