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African champions Algeria return home to tumultuous welcome

Algerian fans waiting in the capital to welcome home the victorious national football team, 20 July 2019.
Algerian fans waiting in the capital to welcome home the victorious national football team, 20 July 2019. Ryad KRAMDI/AFP

Africa Cup of Nations football champions Algeria arrived home on Saturday to a huge welcome from a mass of joyful supporters and a "water salute" for their plane at Algiers airport.

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Tens of thousands of flag-waving fans lining the road from the airport chanting as the players went on a victory parade through the capital in an open-top bus.

An early strike earned a 1-0 victory over Senegal in Friday's final in Cairo, propelling Algeria, known as the Fennec foxes, to their first Cup of Nations title in 29 years.

The players, with winner's medals around their necks and captain Ryad Mahrez hoisting the cup in the air, were given a red carpet welcome at the airport and greeted by Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui.

Their bus was decorated with two stars, marking their second African Cup triumph, and emblazoned with the words "We are proud of you" in Arabic and Amazigh, or Berber, the North African country's two official languages.

The scenes on the packed streets were familiar for Algeria where massive crowds have been taking part for the past several months, especially on Fridays, in anti-regime demonstrations.

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