"#AFCONQualifier: New Algeria coach Belmadi names first squad "

#AFCONQualifier: New Algeria coach Belmadi names first squad

The Algerian national head coach, Djamel Belmadi, has named his first 25-man squad ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier away to The Gambia on 8 September.

Uncapped midfielder Farid Boulaya who plays for FC Metz in the French Ligue 1 has been handed a first call-up.

Other names – who had been dropped by Belmadi’s predecessor Rabah Madjer – have earned a recall including the likes of Rais Mbolhi, Sofiane Feghouli and Safir Taider.

Carl Medjani, captain under Madjer, is not part of the new Belmadi squad with Zineddine Farhat and Ismail Bennacer also missing out.

The new Algeria coach has also dropped seven local players previously named by Madjer, which means there are no players from the Algerian league.

Belmadi attended two games in the local league and followed the performance of the several already-capped players who failed to convince him this time.

He promised to keep the door open for local players in the future.

A host of experienced players are named, including Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City, Yacine Brahimi of Porto and Islam Slimani of Fenerbahce.

Algeria are level with Benin at the top of Group D of qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after an opening 1-0 victory over Togo.

Algeria squad:

Goalkeepers: Raïs M’bolhi (Ettifak FC, Saudi Arabia); Azzeddine Doukha (Al Raed FC, Saudi Arabia); Alexandre Oukidja (FC Metz, France);

Defenders: Aïssa Mandi (Real Betis, Spain); Ramy Bensebaïni (Stade Rennes, France); Rafik Halliche (Moreirense, Portugal); Mehdi Tahrat (Lens, France); Ilyes Hassani (Cherno More, Bulgaria); Ayoub Abdellaoui (FC Sion, Switzerland); Mohamed Farès (S.P.A.L. Italy); Mokhtar Belkhiter (Club Africain, Tunisia);

Midfielders: Nabil Bentaleb (Schalke, Germany); Saphir Taïder (Montreal Impact, MLS); Mehdi Abeid (Dijon, France); Adlène Guedioura (Nottingham Forest, England); Sofiane Feghouli (Galatasaray, Turkey); Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City, England); Rachid Ghezzal (Leicester City, England); Ryad Boudebouz (Real Betis, Spain); Yacine Brahimi (FC Porto, Portugal); Farid Boulaya (Metz, France); Yassine Benzia (Lille, France);

Forwards: Islam Slimani (Fenerbahce, Turkey); Baghdad Bounedjah (Al Sadd SC, Qatar); Hilel Soudani (Nottingham Forest, England).

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