Mongomo: Algeria coach Christian Gourcuff is itching to begin his first Africa Cup of Nations as the Desert Foxes prepare to face South Africa on Monday.
The Frenchman, who took over Africa`s number-one ranked team following their run to the last 16 at the World Cup in Brazil, is new to international management after many years coaching Lorient in his homeland.
And he is having to play down expectations around his Algeria side ahead of their opening game in Group C in Equatorial Guinea.
"The players are ready. We have been working together for a few months now and the players know what they have to do," he said at a press conference in Mongomo on Sunday evening.
"Personally, I have had the time to prepare myself. I have come through the qualifiers and have had time to discover Africa. It is for challenges like this that I came here."
Gourcuff, who admitted to concerns as to the quality of the playing surface in Mongomo by the border with Gabon, claimed that calling Algeria one of the favourites to lift the trophy is a lack of respect to a rejuvenated South Africa.
"In football there are things that you can control and things that you can`t. We are not worrying about whether people say we are favourites or not.
"It would be lacking respect to South Africa and our other opponents to say we are favourites. We are concentrating on the football, on working hard and on the ambition of the players.
"There are 16 teams who want to win the CAN. When you go into a tournament like this, it is to win it, we are just like all the other teams," he added.