Zetchi: Mahrez, Slimani & Bentaleb not ruled out of Algeria

Zetchi: Mahrez, Slimani & Bentaleb not ruled out of Algeria
Islam Slimani of Algeria shoots at goal during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon football match between Algeria and Tunisia at the Franceville Stadium in Gabon on 19 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Sep 21, 2017. 16:00

The trio of Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani and Nabil Bentaleb have not been fully ruled out of Algeria’s national team set-up, according to the country’s Football Federation (FAF) president Kheireddine Zetchi.

Le Buteur reported earlier in the week that the three players are set to be left out of Algeria’s next squad for the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Cameroon next month.

This is after Zetchi and the FAF have called on coach Lucas Alcaraz to rebuild the national team. Algeria notably fell out of contention for Russia 2018 by losing back-to-back matches against Zambia in the last international window.

"Mahrez, Slimani and Bentaleb are players who have contributed a great deal to [the Algerian team] and I am convinced that they can still bring it to the future,” Zetchi told Le Buteur.

“It is true that we spoke of a revolution after the defeat against Zambia suffered at Constantine, but this revolution spreads over several phases.

“It does not have to be done only by changes of players. It must be operated on all levels.

“Organisational, rules of procedure, the attitude that the players must have. It is a whole. What is certain, is that these players are not definitely ruled out.”

The FAF president added that the coach will make the final decision in regards to selection, and that the time is right to widen their pool of available players.

"I cannot understand this controversy regarding the non-selection of some players.

“I wish to make it clear that the non-summoning of these players does not in any way constitute a dismissal.

“It is the current context of selection that has led us to make these decisions. Given that we are already eliminated from the World Cup race, we believe it is time to rebuild a new team.

“We want to see other players. Also, I would like to emphasise that these decisions were taken by Alcaraz. The expanded list, he introduced it.”

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