Angola coach Manuel Jose has expressed optimism in his team’s chances after knowing their opponents at the group phase at the Orange Africa Cup of Nations, Angola 2010.
The Palancas Negras have been drawn in Group A alongside South Africa 2010 World Cup finalists, Algeria, Mali and Malawi for the January 10 to January 31, 2010 competition.
For Jose, his team’s chances appear bright after avoiding the traditional giants of the biennial championship.
“Angola has a strong chance. This is the best of groups we can envisage. We have avoided the ‘big teams’ and it is good for us,” Jose told the media moments after draw at the Talatona Convention Centre in Luanda.
The Palancas Negras will launch their campaign against the Malian Eagles on January 10 in Luanda; engage Malawi four days later before wrapping up against Algeria on January 18.
For the former Al-Ahly coach, the Desert Foxes of Algeria who beat Egypt last Wednesday to grab the final African slot for the World Cup will serve his biggest test.
“Algeria are very strong now. They have qualified for the World Cup and cannot be underrated. With my stints at Al-Ahly, I know very much of the North African game.
“They always capitalize on your mistakes and it is a good sign we are not facing them in the opening match.”
The 63-year old remains optimistic of his side’s ability to advance to the next stage.
The Palancas Negras were quarter-finalists at the last edition held in Ghana in 2008.
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