Algeria have omitted both Riyad Mahrez, the 2016 African Footballer of the Year, and Islam Slimani from their squad to face Cameroon in the next round of World Cup Qualifiers.
The Leicester duo are the two major casualties of a disastrous campaign, after back-to-back losses to Zambia in September ensured they couldn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Desert Foxes held high hopes of not only reaching the competition, but indeed surpassing their impressive showing in the 2014 tournament, when they bowed out in the Last 16.
According to Reuters, the upcoming qualifiers against Cameroon this Saturday and Nigeria next month represent the last chance for coach Lucas Alcaraz to save his job; he was appointed in April of this year.
In addition to the Leicester pair, ex Spurs midfielder Nabil Bentaleb has also missed out on the squad, while the once highly rated defensive midfielder Carl Medjani was ineligible after retiring from International football.
In their place, Alcaraz has welcomed four new players into the squad, including Hellas Verona’s promising young winger Mohammed Fares. He will hope this injection of youth is enough to salvage his job, as well as some national pride, after Algeria’s ‘Golden Generation’ failed to live up to expectations.
Goalkeepers: Raïs M’Bolhi (Stade Rennes, France), Abdelkadir Salhi (CR Belouizdad, Algeria), Toufik Moussaoui (Paradou AC, Algeria).
Defenders: Mohamed Fares (Hellas Verona, Italy), Faouzi Ghoulam (SSC Napoli, Italy), Rami Bensebaini (Stade Rennes, France), Aïssa Mandi (Real Betis, Spain), Abdelkader Bedrane (ES Sétif, Algeria), Liassine Cadamuro-Bentaiba (Nîmes Olympique, France), Farouk Chafai (USM Alger, Algeria), Sofiane Feghouli (Galatasaray SK, Turkey), Zinedine Ferhat (Le Havre AC, France).
Midfielders: Raouf Benguit (USM Alger, Algeria), Sofiane Bendebka (MC Alger, Algeria), Saphir Taider (Bologna FC, Italy), Sofiane Daham (FC Sochaux, France).
Forwards: Hilal El Arabi Soudani (GNK Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia), Rachid Ghezzal (AS Monaco, France), Abderrahmane Meziane (USM Alger, Algeria), Yacine Brahimi (FC Porto, Portugal), Sofiane Hanni (RSC Anderlecht, Belgium), Ishak Belfodil (SV Werder Bremen, Germany), Oussama Darfalou (USM Alger, Germany).
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