Algeria's Sofiane Feghouli
Sunday Nov 05, 2017. 13:00
New Algeria coach Rabah Madjer has spoken out on the issue of his non-selection of Sofiane Feghouli and Rais Mbolhi.
Madjer last week named his first Fennec Foxes squad since taking over the reins from Lucas Alcaraz, as he looked forward to a 2018 World Cup qualifying clash at home to Nigeria next weekend.
One of the major issues arising from his first squad was the decision to overlook some big-name players including Feghouli, who once famously criticised the era of players Madjer hails from, as well as Mbolhi, who appears to have lost his claim to the number one jersey.
The coach explained that he has no issues with either player and includes them in his long-term plans. For now, however, he wants to have a look at different candidates.
"I do not close the door of the selection to any player. Many spoke of Feghouli and his non-selection. I wonder what problem I could have with Feghouli!” exclaimed Madjer, as quoted by Le Buteur.
“On the contrary, this player, I defended him a lot. He has given a lot to the selection and I will continue to encourage him. He will be able to return soon and help with the selection."
He added, "I can assure you that I did not dismiss Feghouli because of his statements. I do not lower myself to this level anyway.
“I repeat, I respect a lot Feghouli and all the players who gave so much to the selection. I would not allow myself to get them out the door.
“As long as a player can bring a plus to the selection, I will continue to call him. This does not mean that Feghouli is not a good player just like Ghezzal, Belfodil or Ounas, but it's just a matter of choice.”
As for Mbolhi, Madjer explained: "I made the decision not to summon him and I have my reasons. We also have other goalkeepers whom we want to see at work.
“Bring Mbolhi back and then put him on the bench, it would have been a lack of respect on my part for this goalkeeper who gave a lot to the selection.
“This does not mean that he is definitely dismissed. [But] I want to give the other goalies the chance to prove their qualities.”