July 5, 2022

Algeria’s 2019 hero Bounedjah omitted from AFCON squad

By Brian Aheebwa
Algerian forward Baghdad Bounedjah

Al Sadd striker Baghdad Bounedjah scored the only goal of the game as Algeria edged Senegal 1-0 in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final in Egypt.

But, the 30-year-old is among the senior players head coach Djamel Belmadi has left out ahead of the opening two qualifiers for the 2023 AFCON against Uganda and Tanzania respectively.

The other top names left out are Galatasaray’s Sofiane Feghouli and FC Metz goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja.

Meanwhile, team captain Riyadh Mahrez who plies his trade with English Premier League champions Manchester City is out with an injury.

With the above-mentioned players absent, seven new players have been handed their maiden call-ups by Belmadi.

Nice’s Billel Brahimi, Boavisita’s Yanis Hamache, CFR’s Billel Omrani, Clermont’s Akim Zedadka, Courtrai KV’s Abdelkahar Kadri, ES Setif’s Riad Benayad and Angers goalkeeper Anthony Mandrea are the new faces.

The two-time AFCON winners had a poor 2021 campaign in Cameroon where they failed to make it past the group stages and therefore Belmadi is looking forward to rebuilding the team.

Algeria will host Uganda on Saturday, June 4, and four days later they will visit Tanzania.

Algeria’s full squad

Goalkeepers: M’bolhi (Al-Ettifaq/Arabie saoudite), Zeghba (Damac FC/Arabie saoudite), Mandrea (Angers SCO/ France)

Defenders: Mandi (Villarreal/Espagne), Bedrane (ES Tunis/Tunisie), Zedadka (Clermont Foot 63/France), Benayada (ES Sahel/Tunisie), Touba (RKC Waalwijk/Pays-Bas), Tougaï (ES Tunis/ Tunisie), Bensebaïni (B. Monchengladbach/Allemagne), Hamache (Boavista FC/Portugal)

Midfielders: Zerrouki (FC Twente/Pays-Bas), Zorgane (Charleroi/Belgique), Boudaoui (OGC Nice/France), Bendebka (Al-Fateh SC/Arabie saoudite), Kadri (KV Courtrai/Belgique), Bennacer (AC Milan/Italie)

Strikers: Belaïli (Stade Brestois 29/France), Brahimi (OGC Nice/France), Ghezzal (Besiktas/Turquie), Ounas (Naples/Italie), Amoura (FC Lugano/Suisse), Slimani (Sporting Lisbonne/Portugal), Omrani (Cluj/Roumanie), Benayad (ES Sétif/Algérie)

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