History has a way of repeating itself. It is considered a good omen when the repeat is favorable but a bad omen when it is not.
The fennecs or Desert Foxes of Algeria battled their way into the semifinal of the ongoing Nations Cup in Egypt on Thursday.
The Coach Djamel Belmadi tutored side subdued hard fighting Elephants of Cote d Ivoire to zoom into the semis.
Interestingly they had come close to sealing victory within regulation time but a last minute penalty miss forced the match into extra time and eventually into penalty shoot-out which they won 4-3.
The victory has pitched the Foxes against Super Eagles who hit the semis edging out Bafana Bafana of South Africa in a nail biting encounter.
Algeria and Nigeria are no strange bed fellows at the Nations cup and going through past encounters one meeting the Algerians will want to see repeat itself and one which Nigerians will never dream to see come to pass dates back to the double header of 1990.
It was the year that Algeria hosted and lifted the Nations cup and remains till date the last time they have won the trophy.
It will be safe to say that the Algerians were on fire that year. They met Nigeria twice in the course of that edition, first in the group stage where the Eagles were handed a demoralising 5-1 defeat under the then Coach Sebastien Brodrick.
It looked more like a nightmare. Algeria’s former international Rabah Madjer grabbed a brace, Djamel Menad also grabbed a brace and Djamel Armani completed the goal harvest with Nigeria only able to get a consolation goal in the 82nd minute thanks to Emmanuel Okocha elder brother of Austin Okocha who incidentally came into the match as a substitute for Thompson Oliha.
Despite that heavy defeat however the Eagles survived and qualified for the knock out stage, went all the way to the final where they again came face to face with the Foxes losing by a lone goal in front of 105,032 spectators at the Stade 5 Juillet 1962, Algiers.
That was 29 years ago and indeed a lot of water has passed under the bridge. Come Sunday the Foxes and the Eagles will clash again this time in Cairo not at the final of the Nations cup but at the semifinals.
The players are different, the coaches different and the scenario and venue different. Coach Djamel Belmadi a former Foxes midfielder did tell Cote d Ivoire before their quarterfinal clash not to dwell on their past defeat of Algeria as that will not influence the present.
Perhaps it may be safe to say no need to dwell on the past but can the mind stop itself from flash backs?
Sunday’s clash at the Cairo international stadium will be and should be memorable. While the foxes will be hoping to draw inspiration from the Algiers 90 episode, the Eagles who have beaten Algeria on several occasions both at the
Nations cup and World cup ties since then will need to again tell anyone that cares to listen that that episode belongs to where it is, in the history books and quiet incapable of influencing the present.
See you on Sunday in Cairo!
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