CAIRO (Reuters) – Algeria captain Riyad Mahrez is wary of Kenya being something of an unknown commodity when the two teams kick off their Africa Cup of Nations campaign in a Group C encounter on Sunday.
“We do not know much about Kenya. We (the current players) never played against them,” Mahrez told a news conference on Saturday.
“We have watched a lot of videos of them and we have played similar teams.”
Kenya are making their first appearance in the tournament since 2004. They last played Algeria 22 years ago.
Mahrez is Algeria’s highest profile player as they bid for their first Cup of Nations success since 1990.
But the Manchester City winger, who was named African Footballer of the Year in 2016, said he did not see himself as a talisman for the side.
“We don’t go into the game of worrying about who is a great player or who has won the African Footballer of the Year award,” he said.
“I’m part of a collective, the most important is the team.”
He added he was delighted to be named captain.
“It’s a responsibility that I’m proud to assume. You have to be a leader on and off the pitch.”
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)